COMMERCIAL FISHING LICENSE REFORMS.

View NCGA Bill Details2019-2020 Session
House Bill 486 (Public) Filed Wednesday, March 27, 2019
AN ACT TO AMEND THE COASTAL FISHING LICENSE STATUTES TO EASE REGULATORY BURDENS AND ENHANCE ACCESS TO FISHERIES FOR BONA FIDE COMMERCIAL FISHERMEN.
Intro. by Yarborough, Dixon, Cunningham, Wray.

Status: Re-ref Com On Finance (House action) (Apr 16 2019)
H 486

Bill Summaries:

  • Summary date: Mar 27 2019 - More information

    Section 1

    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, and HSCFL to mean Heritage Standard Commercial Fishing License. Also adds and defines controlling interest and person. Makes other clarifying changes.

    Amends GS 113-168.1, adding new subsection (d1), making 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.

    Amends GS 113-168.2 to increase the annual fee for a Standard Commercial Fishing License (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 conforming change. 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 (i1) to require licensed persons to report to the Division of Marine Fisheries (Division) in a manner substantially similar to that of the record-keeping requirements of existing subsection (i) regarding takings of fish that are taken by the person but not sold to a licensed dealer because the fish are used for personal consumption or are donated by the person for charitable use. 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. 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 113-168.3B, 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 $130 for non-residents. Allows a person holding a CFCL for three consecutive years to be eligible to apply for a CFCL without meeting any other eligibility requirements.

    Amends GS 113-168.4, regarding the sale of fish, to require the organizer of a reportable recreational fishing tournament, as defined, to comply with the reporting requirements of new GS 113-168.2(i1) (intended), as enacted.

    The above provisions are effective October 1, 2019.

    Adds new subsection (a2) to GS 113-168.2, requiring an SCFL holder to demonstrate a minimum level of participation in fisheries of the state by demonstrating one of the two specified levels of participation, in two of the five fiscal years preceding expiration of the SCFL in order to be eligible to renew the SCFL. Effective June 30, 2022, and applies to all SCFLs expiring on or after that date.

    Directs the Marine Fisheries Commission and the Division of Marine Fisheries to develop a plan to expand opportunities for commercial fishermen to access and harvest commercial fisheries.

    Section 2

    Amends SL 1997-400, Section 5.2, as amended, modifying the temporary cap provision in subsection (c) to make it a permanent cap, set at the number of SCFLs active on June 30, 2018, 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, at which point it transfers 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. Makes other clarifying changes.

    Effective June 30, 2019.

    Section 3

    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, 2019.

    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 bait seines and up to five crab pots to take fish for recreational purposes.

    Section 4

    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, 2019.

    Section 5

    Contains a severability clause.


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