Bill Summaries: all (2023-2024 Session)

  • Summary date: Apr 18 2023 - View summary

    Section 1.1

    Recodifies GS 113-168(1) as GS 116-168(1a) and GS 113-168(3a) as GS 113-168(3b).

    Amends GS 113-168, containing the definitions for Article 14A concerning coastal and estuarine commercial fishing licenses, defining CFCL to mean Commercial Fishing Crew License, HSCFL to mean Heritage Standard Commercial Fishing License, and VCFE to mean a Vessel Commercial Fishing Endorsement. Also adds and defines controlling interest and person. Makes other clarifying changes.

    Amends GS 113-168.1, by adding the following. Makes it unlawful to use commercial gear to harvest fish for personal consumption, donation, bartering, or any non-sale purposes, except: (1) a Standard Commercial Fishing License or Retired Standard Commercial Fishing License holder who has obtained a Pre-Harvest Donation permit may donate no more than 500 pounds of fish on an annual basis to one or more charitable organizations recognized under the laws of the State; and (2) A SCFL, RSCFL, or shellfish license holder may harvest the maximum individual daily harvest limit prescribed by law for personal consumption. Makes it illegal to harvest and land fish taken from coastal waters using commercial gear to fail to report that harvest to the Division of Marine Fisheries (Division), except that SCFL, RSCFL, CFCL, or shellfish license holders are not required to report maximum individual daily harvest limits taken under their licenses for personal use. Requires fish dealers to report to the Divisions landings of fish that are sold. Sets out requirements for reporting landings of fish donated to a charity by a SCFL, RSCFL, or shellfish license holders. Requires the organizer of a public angler fishing tournament to (1) notify the Division of the dates of the tournament at least 90 days before the tournament is to be held and (2) keep a record of all fish harvested during the tournament and report those landings to the Division on a non-sale reporting form. Allows the Division, instead of a paper non-sale reporting form, to make available a downloadable software application to allow electronic transmittal of the reporting forms for the above reports. Makes it unlawful for any person to hold more than one type of each commercial fishing license issued under this statute. Any corporation or other legal entity in which a person holds a controlling interest will count towards the limit imposed by this subsection. Makes a person who held more than one SCFL on January 1, 2024, and who is also the owner of more than one vessel used in a commercial fishing operation in the State's coastal fishing waters, registered with the Division, eligible to purchase a VCFE for each additional vessel, subject to the following conditions. Limits the number of VCFEs for which a SCFL holder is eligible at any time to no more than the total number of SCFLs held by a person holding multiple SCFLs on January 1, 2024. Requires each VCFE to be permanently associated by the Division with the vessel registration number of the vessel for which it is held and with the SCFL number of the VCFE holder. Requires the Marine Fisheries Commission to adopt rules providing for transfer of an existing VCFE to a new vessel upon proof that an endorsed vessel has been sold and replaced with a similar vessel. Requires that the VCFE be assignable by the SCFL holder to a vessel captain other than the SCFL holder for the purpose of carrying on a commercial fishing operation. Makes all landings from the vessel on which the VCFE is held subject to specified reporting requirements. Sets the cost of each VCFE at $750.

    Amends GS 113-168.2 as follows. Sets out requirements that must be met in order to renew a SCFL. Increases the annual fee for a SCFL for a resident of this state from $400 to $800. The fee may not be less than $800 for nonresidents. Restricts the transfer of an SCFL only to a member of a holder’s immediate family or to a corporation or other legal entity in which the SCFL holder and their immediate family hold a controlling interest.  Makes SCFL assignments subject to reporting requirements regardless of the assignee's residency or where the fish are landed. Makes conforming changes. Removes provision for a surviving member of a deceased licensee’s immediate family to request transfer of an SCFL to a third-party purchaser of the deceased licensee’s fishing vessel. Removes provision for a person retiring from commercial fishing to transfer their SCFL to a third-party purchaser of their fishing vessel. Adds new subsection (j), allowing a person holding an SCFL or an administrator or executor holding a transferred SCFL to request that the SCFL be converted to a Heritage Standard Commercial Fishing License (HSCFL). Directs the Division to classify the HSCFL as a separate class of inactive SCFL. Makes it illegal to harvest fish under an HSCFL. Sets the annual fee for an HSCFL at $100. Directs the Division to terminate the HSCFL if it is not timely renewed or 10 years after the original issuance of the HSCFL if it has not been reconverted. Adds new subsection (k), providing that the HSCFL may be reconverted as an SCFL by a member of the immediate family of the person holding the SCFL at the time it was converted. The reconverted SCFL will not be subject to the procedures adopted by the Commission and the Division for issuance of SCFLs from the pool of inactive licenses, and will not be subject to any eligibility requirements for renewal other than payment of the renewal fee for a period of five years following reconversion.

    Amends GS 113-168.3, increasing the annual fee for the Retired Standard Commercial Fishing License to $400 for residents of the state and $520 for non-residents. Enacts new GS 113-168.3A, creating a Commercial Fishing Crew License (CFCL). Allows for application for a CFCL by any person who serves on the crew of a commercial fishing vessel under the direction of a person who holds a valid SCFL. Sets the annual fee for the CFCL at $100 for residents of the state and $200 for non-residents. Allows a person holding a CFCL for three consecutive years to be eligible to apply for a SCFL after submitting tax documentation from actual participation in a commercial fishery during each of the three years; exempts an applicant from other eligibility requirements. Makes insurance of a SCFL subject to availability of a SCFL from the Availability Pool.

    Amends GS 113-168.4, regarding the sale of fish, to require a recreational fishing tournament license holder to comply with the reporting requirements of new GS 113-168.1(b3).

    Amends GS 113-169.1 by allowing the Division to issue a Pre-Harvest Donation Permit to any SCFL, RSCFL, or shellfish license holder allowing the use of commercial gears to take limited quantities of fish intended for charitable donation. Limits the donation to 500 pounds of fish annually by any license holder. Sets out conditions that must be met in order for the donation to be lawful, including obtaining the Pre-Harvest Donation Permit before the harvest that results in the donation. Sets out reporting requirements.

    Requires the Commission to adopt temporary and permanent rules to implement these requirements.

    Effective October 1, 2023.

    Section 2.1

    Codifies SL 1997-400, Section 5.2, as amended, as GS 113-168.7 and makes the following changes. Modifies the temporary cap provision in subsection (c) to make it a permanent cap, set at the number of SCFLs active on June 30, 2023, plus 100 additional SCFLs. Removes provision for issuance of licenses in 1999-2000. Creates an Inactive Pool for SCFLs that have not been renewed, and an Active Pool for SCFLs that are available to be issued. A license in the Inactive Pool may be reactivated by the holder until it has been in the pool for two years after nonrenewal and transfer to the Inactive Pool by the person that held the SCFL before it became inactive. Transfer a SCFl that has not be reactivated within two years to the Availability Pool. Grants the Commission the authority to determine how many licenses from the Availability Pool to issue, and the procedure for doing so, up to the cap set by subsection (c). Requires the Commission to set aside 100 licenses from the Availability Pool for an apprenticeship program for students completing a commercial fishing program offered by an NC community college or an equivalent program from another state. Removes outdated language. Makes other clarifying changes. Effective June 30, 2024.

    Section 3.1

    Repeals GS 113-173, GS 113-168(6), GS 113-173.1(a)(6), and GS 113-174(4)c., all concerning the Recreational Commercial Gear License. Makes conforming change to GS 113-168.1(a). Effective June 30, 2024.

    Section 3.2

    Amends GS 113-174.2, adding new subsection (e), directing the Commission to adopt rules allowing persons holding a Coastal Recreational Fishing License (CRFL) to use (1) up to five crab pots to take crab for personal use; (2) up to five shrimp pots, or a channel net, to take shrimp for personal use; and (3) seines to take fish for bait. Allows the Commission to adopt temporary rules.

    Section 4.1

    Amends GS 113-174.2(c), increasing the fees for CRFLs to the following: $20 for annual residents, $36 for annual nonresidents, $7 for ten-day residents, and $18 for ten-day nonresidents.

    Effective October 1, 2024.

    Section 5.1

    Appropriates $750,000 in recurring funds for 2023-24 from the General Fund to the Division to be used for: (1) to offset any loss of revenue from licensing fees that result from the adoption of this act; (2) for the extension and expansion of programs to remove crab pots and other derelict fishing gear from northeastern, eastern, and southeastern North Carolina waters, with preference for program participants granted to transitioning commercial license holders; and (3) for the expansion of aquaculture and shellfish leasing programs, including training and start-up funding for new participants in those programs, with preference given to commercial license holders that may be affected by the adoption of this act. 

    Appropriates $250,000 from the General Fund to the NC Collaboratory to study the design and implementation of a fisheries license buyback and retirement program for commercial license holders impacted by this act.

    Section 6.1

    Reenacts GS 113-174.3(e), which required each individual who obtains a for-hire license to submit to the Division logbooks summarizing catch and effort statistical data to the Division.

    Section 7.1

    Contains a severability clause.

  • Summary date: Apr 17 2023 - View summary

    To be summarized.