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Published by Samuel J. Tassia

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Published by: Samuel J. Tassia on Jun 23, 2011
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=======LC02701/SUB A=======
A N A C TRELATING TO FISH AND WILDLIFEIntroduced By: Senators Lenihan, and SosnowskiDate Introduced: June 09, 2009Referred To: Senate Environment & AgricultureIt is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:SECTION 1. Title 20 of the General Laws entitled "FISH AND WILDLIFE" is hereby1amended by adding thereto the following chapter:2CHAPTER 2.23RECREATIONAL SALTWATER FISHING LICENSE 4
20-2.2-1 Findings. --
 The general assembly finds and declares:5(1) The constitution of the state places plenary authority and responsibility in the general6assembly to provide for the conservation of the natural resources of the state, including its marine7fisheries;8(2) The state of Rhode Island has historically established programs to provide for and9regulate the harvesting and taking of marine fish for recreational purposes;10(3) The federal government and regional entities have established and continue to11establish regulatory programs, management measures, quotas, and other restrictions that affect12persons engaged in marine recreational fisheries in Rhode Island, and Rhode Island functions in13whole or in part in the context of federal and regional programs, depending on the fishery;14(4) The regulatory programs, management measures, quotas, and other restrictions15governing marine recreational fisheries are based primarily on catch and effort statistics from16recreational fisherman, and on fishery resource assessments, which gauge the biological status of 17fish stocks;18(5) Since 1979, recreational fishing assessments have been derived from the marine19
2recreational fisheries statistics Survey (MRFSS), administered by the federal government in1partnership with the states;2(6) In 2006, congress acknowledged major flaws in the accuracy of the assessments3provided by (MRFSS), and called upon the national marine fisheries service (NMFS) to4undertake programmatic reforms, including the establishment of a universal registry of all5saltwater anglers to provide a more accurate and efficient means for acquiring recreational catch6and effort data;7(7) In 2008, (NMFS) initiated a new marine recreational information program (MRIP) to8replace (MRFSS), and enacted rules requiring marine recreational fisherman to either register9under a new national program, or be registered or licensed by a state program that meets federal10requirements;11(8) All coastal states have enacted, or are in the process of enacting, marine recreational12fishing license or registry programs;13(9) The interests of recreational saltwater anglers in Rhode Island can best be met by14establishing a state program that meets federal requirements, contributes to improved state-based15recreational fishing assessments and stock assessments, and supports fair and effective regulatory16programs and quota allocations for Rhode Island's marine recreational fisheries;17(10) Additionally, the interests of recreational saltwater anglers in Rhode Island are well18served by a program that supports improved and expanded opportunities for the public to access19the marine waters of the state; and20(11) The use of license fee revenues for any purpose other than managing recreational21fisheries and enhancing recreational fishing opportunities would: violate the terms of section 20-229-3 and trigger a discontinuation of all federal funding provided to Rhode Island pursuant to the23Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act (16 U.S.C. section 777-777K); conflict with legislative24intent, as set forth in subdivision 20-3.1-7(3); veer from the restricted use requirements governing25freshwater fishing, commercial fishing, and hunting license fee revenues; affect compliance with26the requirements of this chapter; and compromise the purposes of this chapter.27
20-2.2-2. Purposes. --
 The purposes of this chapter are to:28(1) Enable recreational fisherman to fish legally in the marine waters of Rhode Island,29and in all offshore federal waters, via a state-based recreational fishing licensing program,30established in accordance with the requirements set forth by the federal Magnuson-Stevens31Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. section 1601 et seq.);32(2) Establish a state-based licensing program that will: provide Rhode Island recreational33fisherman, including residents and non-resident visitors, with a convenient and inexpensive34
3licensing process; support and contribute to more accurate state-based fishing and resource1assessments; and provide for fair and effective management programs that optimize benefits and2opportunities for Rhode Island recreational fisherman; and3(3) Establish a dedicated funding vehicle to support improved coastal access4opportunities for recreational fisherman along the Rhode Island shoreline.5
20-2.2-3. Definitions. --
 As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the6following meanings:7(1) "Angling" means to fish recreationally using hook and line.8(2) "Blind" means an individual who is blind in accordance with section 20-2-31.9(3) "Exempted state" means a state that has been designated as an exempted state by the10national marine fisheries service, pursuant to the National Saltwater Angler Registry Program, 5011CFR Part 600.12(4) "Finfish" means all species of finfish, excluding shellfish and crustaceans.13(5) "Fishing recreationally" means all forms of angling, as well as all forms of 14spearfishing, the purpose of which is to harvest, or attempt to harvest finfish for non-commercial15purposes.16(6) "Marine waters of Rhode Island" means all tidal and territorial waters of the state out17to three (3) nautical miles from the coastline, including all state waters surrounding Block Island.18(7) "Permanently disabled" means an individual who is one hundred percent (100%)19permanently disabled in accordance with section 20-2-31.20(8) "Resident" means an individual who has had his or her actual place of residence and21has lived in the state of Rhode Island for a continuous period of not less than six (6) months.22(9) "Spearfishing" means to fish recreationally using a spear or a powerhead.23
20-2.2-4. License required. --
 (a) It shall be unlawful for any person to fish24recreationally in the marine waters of Rhode Island without:25(1) A recreational fishing license issued in accordance with the provisions of this chapter;26or (2) A recreational fishing license or registration issued by any other exempted state that27affords reciprocity to Rhode Island residents who hold recreational fishing licenses issued28pursuant to this chapter; or29(3) A federal saltwater angler registration issued by the national marine fisheries service.30(b) An individual will be considered to be fishing recreationally if they are engaged in the31process of angling or spearfishing, or if they possess equipment used for angling or spearfishing32and are also in possession of finfish.33
20-2.2-5. Exemptions. –
 A license shall not be required for anyone who is:34

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