NO. 23.  AN ACT RELATING TO ENABLING A HOLDER OF A VERMONT OR A NEW YORK FISHING LICENSE TO FISH IN LAKE CHAMPLAIN.

(H.80)

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  10 V.S.A. § 4609 is amended to read:

§ 4609.  CONNECTICUT RIVER; LAKE CHAMPLAIN

(a)  Persons holding a New Hampshire fishing license may take fish from the Connecticut River, provided the state of New Hampshire grants the same right to persons holding a Vermont fishing license.  Such taking shall be only in accordance with rules and regulations adopted by the state of New Hampshire relative to open and closed seasons, limits of catch, minimum sizes of fish caught and methods of fishing and upon agreement between the commissioner and the director of fish and game of the state of New Hampshire and the approval of the secretary.  Whereupon the laws of this state covering such matters shall be suspended as to the waters above described.  Any violation of said provisions shall be punished as provided in section 4515 of this title.

(b)  A person holding a New York fishing license may take fish from the Vermont portion of Lake Champlain provided the state of New York grants the right to fish in the New York portion of the lake to a person holding a Vermont fishing license.  In this case, a person holding a New York license may take fish in the Vermont portion of the lake in accordance with rules adopted under this part and shall be fined pursuant to section 4515 of this title for violation of the rules while fishing in the Vermont portion of the lake.  In this section, the Vermont portion of Lake Champlain means the portion of Lake Champlain which lies within Vermont waters up to the mouth of any tributary river or stream, and shall not include any waters on the east side of the railroad fills at Malletts Bay, the Gut, and Pelots Point.

(c)  Prior to entering into a reciprocal agreement with New York, the board shall adopt a rule defining mouths of tributaries and lines between points using a water break, railroad trestle, or other structure or landmark which will enable anglers to easily identify the Vermont portion of Lake Champlain.

(d)  Annually on or before January 15, in any year following a year in which holders of a New York fishing license were able to fish in the Vermont portion of Lake Champlain under a reciprocity agreement entered into with  New York, the secretary of the agency of natural resources, in collaboration with the secretary of the agency of commerce and community development, shall report to the general assembly on the effects of subsection (b) of this section upon the revenues of the state.  The report shall include an estimate of the resultant decrease in Vermont license sales to holders of a New York fishing license, and an estimate of the resultant increase in Vermont sales of lodging, food, equipment, and other items to holders of a New York fishing license.

 

 

Sec. 2.  FISHING IN LAKE CHAMPLAIN; RECIPROCAL AGREEMENT

By January 1, 2004, the commissioner of fish and wildlife shall negotiate a reciprocal license agreement, implementing 10 V.S.A. § 4609(b), with the commissioner of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation and the relevant committees of the New York General Assembly.  On or before January 15, 2004, the secretary of the agency of natural resources shall report to the house committee on fish, wildlife and water resources and the senate committee on natural resources and energy regarding the progress of negotiations.

Sec. 3.  LOSS OF INCOME; BUDGET ADJUSTMENT ACT

(a)  On or before January 1, 2004, the commissioner of fish and wildlife shall report to the Senate and House committees on appropriations on the amount of any losses to the fish and wildlife fund already realized due to this act and on any losses likely to be incurred in the next year.

(b)  It is the intent of the general assembly that the amount of losses incurred shall be reviewed and an appropriation shall be thoughtfully considered for each year for the next three years from the general fund to the fish and wildlife fund in the budget for fiscal years 2005, 2006, and 2007.

Sec. 4.   EFFECTIVE DATE; SUNSET

(a)  This act shall take effect on passage, except that 10 V.S.A. § 4609(b) shall take effect on January 1, 2004.

(b)  Secs. 2 and 3 of this act shall be repealed on January 1, 2008.  On that date, 10 V.S.A. § 4609, as amended by Sec. 1 of this act, shall be amended to revert to the language it contained prior to the enactment of this act.

Approved:  May 14, 2003