2007 Regular Session
To: Marine Resources
By: Representative Zuber, Palazzo, Janus, Frierson, Guice, Patterson
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTIONS 49-15-313 AND 49-7-21, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT RESIDENT AND NONRESIDENT SALTWATER SPORT FISHING LICENSES SHALL BE VALID FOR A PERIOD OF TWELVE MONTHS FROM THE DATE OF ISSUANCE; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 49-15-313, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
49-15-313. (1) Any resident between the ages of sixteen (16) and sixty-five (65) years, as defined in Section 49-7-3, fishing in the marine waters of the state, shall obtain a saltwater sport fishing license for a fee of Four Dollars ($4.00). This license shall be valid in any waters south of Interstate 10. Any resident citizen who is blind, paraplegic or a multiple amputee, or who has been adjudged by the Veterans Administration as having a total service-connected disability, or has been adjudged totally disabled by the Social Security Administration shall not be required to purchase or have in his possession a saltwater sport fishing license while engaged in such activities. Any resident exempt under this section shall have on his person while fishing proof of residency and age or disability.
(2) The commission shall prescribe the forms, types and fees for nonresident saltwater sport fishing licenses except that the fee for a nonresident saltwater sport fishing license shall not be less than Twenty Dollars ($20.00). The commission shall require a nonresident to purchase a nonresident freshwater fishing license and a nonresident saltwater sport fishing license if the nonresident's state requires both licenses for a nonresident to fish in its marine waters.
(3) All resident vessels engaged in charter boat fishing, party boat fishing, head boat and guide boat fishing shall be issued a separate annual license by the commission at a fee of Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00). All nonresident vessels engaged in charter boat fishing, party boat fishing, head boat and guide boat fishing shall be issued a separate annual license by the commission. In addition to other requirements for charter license eligibility, captains must show proof of participation in a Department of Transportation approved random drug testing program and proof of liability insurance as a charter boat captain. Crew members and customers of the licensed vessels shall not be required to purchase an individual resident or nonresident saltwater fishing license while sponsored by the licensed vessels. An operator of a licensed vessel shall be required to report the number of customers to the department as required by the commission and the information shall be kept confidential and shall not be released, except to other fisheries management agencies or as statistical data. All nonresident vessels engaged in saltwater sport fishing tournaments, not to exceed an aggregate of twenty (20) days per calendar year, shall not be required to purchase an annual license as provided under this subsection.
(4) The saltwater sport fishing license is required for all recreational methods of finfish harvest.
(5) Any resident who purchases a lifetime sportsman's license, in accordance with Section 49-7-153, shall be entitled to fish in the marine salt waters of the state and shall be exempt from the purchase of a sport saltwater fishing license.
(6) Any person authorized to issue a license may collect and retain, for each saltwater fishing license issued, the additional fee authorized under Section 49-7-17. Resident and nonresident saltwater sport fishing licenses shall be valid for a period of twelve (12) months from the date of issuance.
(7) The fees collected from the sale of resident and nonresident saltwater sport fishing licenses shall be deposited into the Seafood Fund and shall be used solely for the management of marine resources.
(8) Participants in the Very Special Fishing Olympics are exempt from this section.
(9) July 4 of each year is designated as "Free Saltwater Sport Fishing Day." Any person may saltwater sport fish without a license on the "Free Saltwater Sport Fishing Day."
(10) The department may exempt participants in an organized fishing event conducted by a qualified nonprofit charitable, governmental or civic organization from the requirements of this section for one (1) day per year if the organization files an exemption application with the department and the application is approved by the department.
SECTION 2. Section 49-7-21, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
49-7-21. (1) (a) The licenses for hunting, trapping or fishing shall be issued on a form prepared by the executive director and supplied to the bonded agents authorized to issue licenses. The forms shall bear the name and social security number or driver's license number of the applicant. All licenses, except saltwater sport fishing licenses, shall be valid from the date of their issuance to the following June 30 * * *. Resident and nonresident saltwater sport fishing licenses shall be valid for a period of twelve (12) months from the date of issuance. The licenses shall be issued in the name of the commission and be countersigned by the bonded agent issuing same. The application for a license under this chapter shall be subscribed and sworn to by the applicant before an officer authorized to administer oaths in this state, and for this purpose the members of the commission, the executive director, sheriffs, conservation officers and bonded agents are hereby authorized to administer oaths, but no charge shall be made by any officer employed by the commission or sheriff for the administration of the oath.
(b) A person may purchase a license from the office of the department without appearing in person.
(c) The commission may design, establish, and administer a program to provide for the purchase, by electronic means, of any license, permit, registration or reservation issued by the commission or department.
(2) Any person authorized to issue licenses for hunting, trapping or fishing in this state who attempts to issue a license on a form other than one as prescribed by this section, or attempts to prepare a license certificate in any manner other than on the form prescribed by this section, and furnished by the executive director, is guilty of a Class II violation, and shall be punished as provided in Section 49-7-143, Mississippi Code of 1972, and the person convicted shall be forever barred from issuing licenses in the State of Mississippi.
(3) Any resident or nonresident who hunts, takes or traps any wild animal, bird or fish must possess a valid license issued by the commission, unless specifically exempted under this chapter.
(4) Any nonresident, who hunts or traps without the required license is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be fined in an amount not less than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) nor more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) for the first offense and shall forfeit hunting and trapping privileges for a period of one (1) year. The nonresident shall also be assessed by the court an administrative fee as prescribed under subsection (6) of this section. For the second or any subsequent offense a nonresident shall be fined in an amount of not less than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) nor more than One Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($1,500.00) or imprisoned in the county jail for not more than thirty (30) days, or both such fine and imprisonment and shall forfeit hunting and trapping privileges for a period of two (2) years. The nonresident shall also be assessed by the court an administrative fee as prescribed under subsection (6) of this section.
(5) Any nonresident who fishes without the required license is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined in an amount not less than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) nor more than Two Hundred Fifty Dollars ($250.00) for the first offense. For the second or any subsequent offense a nonresident shall be fined in an amount not less than Two Hundred Fifty Dollars ($250.00) nor more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) and that nonresident shall also be assessed by the court an administrative fee as prescribed under subsection (6) of this section.
(6) In addition to any other fines or penalties imposed under subsection (4) or (5) of this section, any person convicted for a violation of subsection (3) of this section shall be assessed by the court an administrative fee equal in amount to the cost of the hunting, trapping or fishing license fee that such person unlawfully failed to possess at the time of the violation, the amount of which license fee shall be entered upon the ticket or citation by the charging officer at the time the ticket or citation is issued. The clerk of the court in which conviction for a violation of subsection (3) of this section takes place, promptly shall collect all administrative fees imposed under this subsection and deposit them monthly with the State Treasurer, in the same manner and in accordance with the same procedure, as nearly as practicable, as required for the collection, receipt and deposit of state assessments under Section 99-19-73. However, all administrative fees collected under the provisions of this subsection shall be credited by the State Treasurer to the account of the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, and may be expended by the department upon appropriation by the Legislature.
(7) Any person who obtains a license under an assumed name or makes a materially false statement to obtain a license is guilty of a felony and shall be subject to a fine of Two Thousand Dollars ($2,000.00) or may be imprisoned for a term not to exceed one (1) year, or both.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2007.