(a) Any person who violates a provision of this article or any regulation promulgated pursuant to this article or of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 or regulation promulgated thereunder or who fails to procure or violates the terms of any permit issued pursuant thereto shall, upon conviction, be fined not less than $50.00 nor more than $500.00 or be imprisoned not more than six months or both.
(b) Any officer employed and authorized by the commissioner or any law enforcement officer of the state or of any municipality or county within the state shall have authority to conduct searches as provided by law and to execute a warrant to search for and seize any equipment, business records, merchandise or marine mammal taken, used or possessed in connection with a violation of any section of this article. Any such officer or agency may, without a warrant, arrest any person who such officer or agent has probable cause to believe is violating, in his presence or view, any such section or any regulation or permit provided for by this article. Any officer or agent who has made an arrest of a person in connection with any such violation may search such person or business records at the time of arrest and may seize any marine mammal, records or property taken or used in connection with any such violation.
(c) Equipment, merchandise, marine mammals or records seized under the provisions of subsection (b) of this section shall be held by an officer or agent of the department pending disposition of court proceedings, and thereafter shall be forfeited to the state for destruction or disposition as the commissioner may deem appropriate; provided, however, that prior to forfeiture, the commissioner may direct the transfer of marine mammals so seized to a qualified geological, educational or scientific institution for safe keeping, the cost thereof to be assessable to the defendant. The commissioner is authorized to promulgate regulations to implement this subsection.
(d) All moneys arising under the provisions of this article from fines and forfeitures shall be deposited to the credit of the Seafoods Fund.