HTML> AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION SECTION49-15-28____, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, to require commercial fishermen to obtain seafood dealers license to sell their catch; to amend sections 49-15-46 , MCA 1972 to require sell fee for oysters shells shipped out of stat

MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

2000 Regular Session

To: Ports and Marine Resources

By: Senator(s) Hewes

Senate Bill 2599

AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 49-15-28, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE COMMERCIAL FISHERMEN TO OBTAIN A SEAFOOD DEALERS LICENSE TO SELL THEIR CATCH; TO AMEND SECTION 49-15-46, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE A SHELL FEE FOR OYSTERS SHIPPED OUT OF STATE; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:

SECTION 1. Section 49-15-28, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

49-15-28. (1) Each person buying or handling seafood secured from commercial fishermen, or from other wholesale dealers, for the purpose of resale, whether handling on a commission basis or otherwise, and every resident person shipping seafood out of the State of Mississippi on consignment or order, * * * shall be considered a wholesale dealer and shall obtain a license and pay an annual license fee of One Hundred Dollars ($100.00). The privilege of a wholesaler shall also include the privilege of a retailer without additional license. Where seafood is sold at retail in grocery stores and meat markets which pay a city, county or state privilege license for that operation, those grocery stores and meat markets shall not be liable for the payment of the tax above levied.

(2) Any factory or person engaged in the canning, processing, freezing, drying or shipping of oysters, fish, saltwater crabs or saltwater shrimp shall be considered a seafood processor and shall obtain a license and pay an annual privilege tax of Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00). It is unlawful for any factory or person to engage in the canning, processing, freezing, drying or shipping of oysters, fish, saltwater crabs or saltwater shrimp without first having obtained that license. The privilege of a processor shall also include the privileges of a wholesaler without additional license. The privilege tax license shall be nontransferable and a license shall be required for each factory or place of business. This license shall not apply to, nor shall the payment of the annual privilege tax of Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00) be due by, a dealer in fresh seafood who merely preserves the seafood for future sale to prevent spoilage and is in competition with other retailers who are not required to pay this tax.

(3) All licensed commercial fishermen not selling directly to a licensed seafood dealer or processor must obtain a seafood dealer or processor license.

SECTION 2. Section 49-15-46, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

49-15-46. (1) Each in-state vessel used to catch, take, carry or transport oysters from the reefs of the State of Mississippi, or engaged in transporting any oysters in any of the waters within the territorial jurisdiction of the State of Mississippi, for commercial use, shall annually, before beginning operations, be licensed by the commission and pay the following license fee:

(a) Fifty Dollars ($50.00) on all vessels or boats utilized for tonging oysters or gathering oysters by hand; or

(b) One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) on all vessels or boats utilized for dredging oysters.

(2) Each out-of-state vessel used to catch, take, carry or transport oysters from the reefs of the State of Mississippi, or engaged in transporting any oysters in any of the waters within the territorial jurisdiction of the State of Mississippi, for commercial use, must annually, before beginning operations, be licensed by the commission and pay the following license fee:

(a) One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) on all vessels or boats utilized for tonging oysters or gathering oysters by hand; or

(b) Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00) on all vessels or boats utilized for dredging oysters.

(3) All oysters harvested in the State of Mississippi shall be tagged. Tags shall be issued by the department and shall bear the catcher's name, the date and origin of the catch, the shell stock dealer's name and permit number. The department shall number all tags issued and shall maintain a record of those tags. The commission, in its discretion, may adopt any regulations regarding the tagging of oysters and other shellfish.

(4) Each person catching or taking oysters from the waters of the State of Mississippi for personal use shall obtain a permit from the commission and pay an annual recreational oyster permit fee of Ten Dollars ($10.00). Oysters caught under a recreational permit shall not be offered for sale. The limits on the allowable catch of oysters for recreational purposes shall be three (3) sacks per week. The department shall issue tags of a distinguishing color to designate recreationally harvested oysters, which shall be tagged on the same day of harvest in the manner prescribed in subsection (3) of this section for commercially harvested oysters or by regulation of the commission.

(5) The commission shall assess and collect a shell retention fee for the shells taken from waters within the territorial jurisdiction of the State of Mississippi as follows:

(a) Commercial and recreational harvesters - Fifteen Cents (15) per sack paid to the department on the day of harvest; and

(b) Initial oyster processor, dealer or factory first purchasing the oysters - Fifteen Cents (15) per sack paid to the department no later than the tenth day of the month following the purchase, on forms submitted by the department.

(c) Commercial harvesters transporting their catch out of the state - Fifty Cents (50) per sack paid to the department on the day of harvest.

Funds received from the shell retention fee shall be paid into a special fund in the State Treasury to be appropriated by the Legislature for use by the commission to further oyster production in this state, which includes plantings of oysters and/or cultch materials.

During open seasons, oysters may be taken only by hands, tongs and dredges.

SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2000.