1997 Regular Session
To: Conservation and Water Resources
By: Representative Barnett (116th)
House Bill 1580
(As Sent to Governor)
AN ACT TO DESIGNATE THE COBIA AS GAME FISH; TO PROHIBIT THE SALE OF SUCH GAME FISH; TO AMEND SECTION 49-15-3, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CONFORM AND TO MAKE TECHNICAL REVISIONS TO THE DEFINITION OF DOMICILE; TO REVISE THE DEFINITION OF TONGING REEFS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 49-15-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
49-15-3. As used in this chapter, the term:
(a) "Commission" means the Mississippi Commission on Marine Resources.
(b) "Department" means the Department of Marine Resources.
(c) "Domicile" means a person's principal or primary place of abode in which a person's habitation is fixed and to which the person, whenever absent, has the present intention of returning after a departure of absence therefrom, regardless of the duration of the absence. The burden of proving domicile in the State of Mississippi shall be on the person claiming that status. A person holding a current driver's license shall be deemed to be domiciled within the state issuing the license. If a person does not hold a current driver's license the following evidence * * * may be considered in establishing * * *, but is not necessarily determinative of domicile: * * * residence for income or other tax purposes, homestead exemption receipt or other means prescribed by the commission. In the case of minors, domicile of the parents shall be used as evidence of the minor's domicile.
(d) "Game fish" means cobia, also known as ling or lemonfish (rachycentron canadum). The cobia is classified as game fish.
(e) "Illegal oysters" means:
(i) All untagged shell stock;
(ii) Shell oysters obtained from uncertified shops or dealers or from an unlicensed catcher;
(iii) Oysters obtained from waters not declared safe and sanitary by the department, except those oysters caught by the commission for re-laying or under private leases pursuant to Section 49-15-27;
(iv) Shucked oysters obtained from uncertified shops or repackers.
(f) "Inspector" means the chief inspector, the assistant chief inspector or any deputy inspector employed by the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.
(g) "Natural reefs" means any bottom under the jurisdiction of the commission of one or more acres on which oysters grow naturally, or have grown naturally, in a quantity sufficient to warrant commercial fishing as a means of livelihood, or have been used in such a manner within a period of ten (10) years next preceding the time the bottoms may come up for determination by the commission.
(h) "Resident" means a person, firm or corporation that is domiciled in this state.
(i) "Seafood" means all oysters, saltwater fish, saltwater shrimp, diamondback terrapin, sea turtle, crabs and all other species of marine or saltwater animal life existing or living in the waters within the territorial jurisdiction of the State of Mississippi.
(j) "Tonging reefs" means * * * any bottom under the jurisdiction of the commission designated by the commission as an area in which oysters may only be taken by use of hand tongs.
* * *
SECTION 2. (1) It is unlawful for any person to sell, barter or trade or to offer for sale, barter or trade any game fish enumerated in Chapter 15 of Title 49, Mississippi Code of 1972.
(2) Cobia may be sold in this state if the cobia is purchased from a state in which it may lawfully be caught and sold. Any individual, partnership, corporation or other entity which sells cobia in this state shall maintain documentation showing the state of purchase and date of purchase of cobia for a period of sixty (60) days from the date of purchase of the cobia. The Department of Marine Resources or any other law enforcement agency with which the department has a cooperating agreement may require any seller of cobia to document the date and state of purchase.
(3) Any person who cultivates a game fish as permitted under the Mississippi Aquaculture Act of 1988 may sell the game fish in accordance with the marine aquaculture program.
(4) A person who violates this section shall be punished as provided in Section 49-15-63.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.