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H.507

Introduced by   Committee on Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources

Date:

Subject:  Fish and wildlife; license agents; fish importation permit; testing of cultured fish

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to stipulate that fees collected by a licensing agent shall be promptly paid into the fish and wildlife fund; authorize the commissioner of fish and wildlife to adopt a list of non-Vermont fish which have the potential to harm Vermont’s fish population and require a permit for possession or importation of any fish on the list; direct the commissioner to adopt rules governing fee fishing businesses which are necessary to protect the health of the Vermont fish population; and expand the program for health testing of cultured trout to include all cultured fish.

AN ACT RELATING TO THE HEALTH OF VERMONT’S FISH POPULATION

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

Sec. 1.  10 V.S.A. § 4254(f) is amended to read:

(f)  All persons or businesses who wish to serve as agents shall apply on forms provided by the department.  All applicants who become agents, except town clerks or other municipal or state employees who sell licenses as part of their official duties, shall pay an agency origination fee of $100.00 upon establishment of the agency.  Except for the fee collected under subdivision (e)(9) of this section, all license fees collected by an agent are the property of the state of Vermont and shall be promptly paid to the state following the procedures established under subdivision (e)(6) of this section.

Sec. 2.  10 V.S.A. § 4605 is amended to read:

§ 4605.  PLACING FISH IN WATERS; FISH IMPORTATION PERMITS

(a)  A person shall not introduce or attempt to introduce pickerel or great northern pike into any waters, or any fish, except trout or salmon, into public waters frequented by trout or salmon.

(b)  A person shall not bring into the state for the purpose of planting or introducing, or to plant or introduce, into any of the inland or outlying waters of the state any live fish or the live spawn thereof, unless, upon application in writing therefor, the person obtains from the commissioner a permit so to do.  The permit may include conditions which the commissioner finds necessary to guard the health of Vermont’s fish population.

(c)  The commissioner may, by rule, adopt a list of fish which, if introduced into Vermont waters, have the potential to cause harm to the fish population of the state.  A person shall not possess or bring into the state any fish on the list unless the person has received a permit issued pursuant to this subsection.  The commissioner may issue a permit allowing importation and possession of a fish on the list, provided the fish is to be kept in a controlled situation and used for a public purpose such as research or education.  A permit issued under this subsection shall include conditions that ensure the health and safety of Vermont’s fish population.

(d)  Applicants shall pay a permit fee of $50.00.  The commissioner or duly authorized agents, shall make such investigation and inspection of the fish as they may deem necessary and then the importation permit may be granted pursuant to regulations which the board shall prescribe.  The commissioner or duly authorized agents shall make a determination on the permit within 10 days of receiving the application.  The department may dispose of unlawfully imported fish as it may judge best, and the state may collect damages from the violator of this subsection for all expenses incurred.

(c)(e)  Nothing in this section shall prohibit the board, the commissioner or their duly authorized agents from bringing into the state for the purpose of planting, introducing, or stocking, or from planting, introducing, or stocking any fish in the state.

Sec. 3.  10 V.S.A. § 5228(e) is added to read:

(e)  The commissioner shall adopt rules governing operation of fee fishing businesses which are necessary to ensure that operators, growers, and fishery resources of the state are protected.  The rules may include mandatory testing of fish health and imposition of a prohibition on the moving or harvesting of any fish from a fee fishing business found to contain fish which carry an infectious disease. 

Sec. 4.  6 V.S.A. § 1154a is amended to read:

§ 1154a.  TESTING OF CULTURED TROUT TESTING FISH AND FEE

                FISHING BUSINESSES

(a)  Health testing of cultured trout fish shall be provided to commercial trout fish farms and fee fishing businesses through an aquaculture inspection program conducted jointly by the agency of agriculture, food and markets and the department of fish and wildlife, in accordance with any memorandum of understanding between the agency and department prepared for this purpose as required by section Sec. 88 of Act No. 50 of the Acts of 1991.  Such testing shall be at no charge to a the commercial trout fish farm or fee fishing business.  The testing shall be funded jointly from the operating budgets of the agency of agriculture, food and markets and the department of fish and wildlife.

(b)  A commercial trout fish farm must before commencing operation obtain a breeder’s license from the commissioner of fish and wildlife as required by section 5207 of Title 10.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us