Section 9-12-113

Licenses or permits for commercial fishing; net or seine permits.

(a) Each license or permit issued by the Commissioner of Conservation and Natural Resources or his or her authorized agent shall state the name of the applicant.

(1) If the applicant is a resident of the State of Alabama, the applicant shall pay the following fees:

a. One hundred dollars ($100) for commercial fishing.

b. Three hundred dollars ($300) on each net or seine permit, plus an additional five hundred dollars ($500) per permit for the taking of Roe Mullet and Spanish Mackerel, as defined by regulation of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

c. One thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500) for each purse seine license.

(2) Nonresidents shall pay the following fees:

a. Two hundred dollars ($200) for commercial fishing.

b. One thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500) for each net or seine permit, plus an additional two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) per permit for the taking of Roe Mullet and Spanish Mackerel, as defined by regulation of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

c. Three thousand dollars ($3,000) for each purse seine license except where the nonresident of the State of Alabama is a resident of a state which has a reciprocal fishing agreement with the State of Alabama, in which case the fee shall be the same as the fee for an Alabama resident in that state.

(3) A commercial fishing license shall be required for any person to do any of the following:

a. Sell or attempt to sell finfish or take or attempt to take, by the use of hook and line, rod and reel, cast net, gig, trot line, spear gun, or bow and arrow, or other gear as defined by regulation or to possess or transport for commercial purposes finfish from those waters under the jurisdiction of the Marine Resources Division of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, as provided in Rule 220-2-.42, Alabama Administrative Code.

b. Possess finfish for commercial purposes on board a boat in those waters under the jurisdiction of the Marine Resources Division of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, as provided in Rule 220-2-.42, Alabama Administrative Code.

c. Off-load or land a catch of finfish to a resident or nonresident seafood dealer, regardless of where the fish were taken.

(4) A commercial fishing license shall not be required for a commercial gill net license holder validly licensed under this section, in order for the licensee to take, possess, or sell his or her catch taken with a gill net, seine, or other entangling net, nor shall it be required for the taking, possession, and sale of finfish taken with a licensed commercial shrimp boat.

(b) The net and seine permits provided for pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection (c) shall not be transferable from one person to another for a period of three years from October 1, 1995, or until a transfer system is developed by departmental regulation, except in the case of proven physical hardship, as determined within the sole discretion of the Director of the Marine Resources Division. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources shall by regulation establish a system for the transfer of the permits within a three-year period. In establishing the system, the department shall provide that there shall be no financial gain realized by the transferor of the permits. The net and seine permits provided for pursuant to subdivision (2) of subsection (c) shall not be transferable under any circumstances, including physical hardship, and shall not be transferred to any other applicant by the department.

(c) In addition to all other requirements to be permitted pursuant to this section, except as otherwise provided for residents age 62 years or older under certain conditions as may be subsequently determined by the department, all applicants for net and seine permits shall submit the following:

(1) Proof that the applicant purchased a license under this section in at least two of the five years during the period of 1989 through 1993 and proof, in the form of unamended original income tax returns including Alabama state income tax returns for all applicants in accordance with procedures established by departmental regulations, that the applicant recognized his or her applicable Alabama income and derived at least 50 percent of his or her gross income from the capture and sale of seafood species in at least two of the five years during the period of 1989 through 1993 and in subsequent years for annual renewal; or

(2) Proof that the applicant purchased a license under this section every year from 1989 through 1993, and, unless exempt from filing under the Alabama income tax law, proof that the applicant filed an Alabama income tax return from 1989 through 1993, and in subsequent years for annual renewal.

For the license year beginning October 1, 1997, only, any permittee who obtained a net and seine permit pursuant to subdivision (2) may obtain a permit transferable in the same manner as a permit pursuant to subdivision (1) upon submitting proof in the form of unamended original income tax returns including Alabama state income tax returns for all applicants in accordance with procedures established by departmental regulations, that the applicant recognized his or her applicable Alabama income and derived at least 50 percent of his or her gross income in 1996 from the capture and sale of seafood species, provided the permittee must meet the gross income requirements to continue to renew a permit issued pursuant to subdivision (1) in subsequent years. A permittee who receives a permit pursuant to the provision in the preceding sentence may not receive a permit pursuant to subdivision (2) thereafter. The Alabama Department of Revenue shall verify, upon request, to the Director of the Marine Resources Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources the income tax return of the applicant if the applicant authorizes the release of the information. Authorization by the applicant to release the information shall be a prerequisite for a permit.

(d) Only one permit shall be issued per individual. The department shall issue each permittee one decal or placard which shall be visibly displayed on the permittee's designated vessel or vessels in accordance with regulations promulgated by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The decal or placard may only be displayed on an Alabama registered vessel and may not be displayed on an out-of-state registered vessel. A permittee shall have only one net or seine in use at any time and shall be present and have the permit in his or her possession when the net or seine is in use or in transit, provided the presence of the permittee shall not be required when the boat is docked, refueling, or at a launch site.

(e) All nets and seines, except purse seines, and seines 25 feet or less, shall bear a tag showing the name and number of the permittee and any other identification as required by regulation, when the nets or seines are in use or on board a boat in the waters of Alabama. A designated vessel of 45 feet in length or less, as measured down the centerline, may have properly marked nets which are the property of the owner of the designated vessel on board the vessel but no fish may be in contact with the nets and provided that the vessel is not in motion and is moored or anchored when the permittee is not present. An initial designated vessel may be replaced by another vessel owned by the permittee that is no longer than 110 percent of the original vessel subject in all events to a maximum of 45 feet except in certain cases which may be waived by the Director of the Division of Marine Resources upon presentation of evidence that a permittee owned a vessel longer than 45 feet prior to the passage of this amendatory act.

(f) All permits issued shall be issued to individual persons only. A purse seine license may be issued to a person, firm, or corporation. A nonresident, as mentioned in this section, for the purposes of all permits issued, is defined to be any person who has not been continuously domiciled in this state for more than one continuous year prior to the date of the issuance of the license and for the purpose of purse seine licenses, a nonresident is defined to be any person, firm, or corporation who has not been domiciled in this state for more than one continuous year immediately prior to the date of the issuance of the license. Any nonresident fishing with a resident commercial gill net license holder shall not provide any gill nets, trammel nets, haul nets, or other fishing equipment to the resident commercial gill net license holder. All persons on board must have proof of residency in the form of a valid state driver's license or state nondriver identification card.

(g) All licenses and permits issued pursuant to this section shall expire on September 30 thereafter irrespective of the date of the issuance of the same.

(h) All nets and seines fished in an illegal manner, or in an illegal area, are declared to be a nuisance and may be confiscated, along with the entire catch, boat, motor, and any other fishing gear in the violator's possession, and all of the items may be held as evidence by any agent of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. After conviction of the person in whose possession the device or items were found or when the operator of the device has not been determined after a period of 30 days, the device or items shall be forfeited to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources which shall destroy or otherwise dispose of the device or items as it shall deem advisable or in lieu of forfeiture, the court may impose additional fines.

(i) All game fish taken by nets or seines under this law shall be immediately returned to the waters where they were taken with the least possible injury to the fish. Possession of game fish in violation of this subsection will be considered as using a net or seine in an illegal manner. Saltwater game fish are defined as follows: Spotted Seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus); Red Drum (Sciaenops ocellata); Tarpon (Megalops atlanticus); and those species designated by regulation of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The department shall by regulation to the extent possible establish a tagging system to regulate importation or sale of the above listed species or species added by regulation.

(j) In addition to any other penalties provided in this section, a violation of this section or any regulation promulgated pursuant to this section, shall be a Class B misdemeanor punishable as provided by law; provided, however, that there shall be a mandatory minimum fine of two thousand dollars ($2,000) for first offenses of utilizing a net or seine without the required license or permit hereunder, and any subsequent violation of subsection (a) committed within a three-year period of the date of conviction shall be a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a mandatory minimum fine of three thousand dollars ($3,000) and a mandatory minimum imprisonment of 10 days. Any person violating this section or any regulation promulgated pursuant to this section shall be strictly liable and it shall not be necessary to prove any criminal intent for conviction.

A 10-point system is also hereby established to provide that in the event a person is convicted of the following offenses as set out in subdivisions (1) to (5), inclusive, below in a manner so as to acquire ten or more points within a three-year period the department shall automatically and permanently revoke all licenses or permits issued and the licenses, permits, and any decal issued to that person shall be surrendered immediately by the licensee or permittee to the Director of the Division of Marine Resources upon conviction. Points shall be considered for a period of three years from the date of conviction and shall be as follows:

(1) Sale, purchase, trade or barter of game fish, 10 points.

(2) Fishing in closed areas, 5 points.

(3) Retention of game fish, 5 points.

(4) Fishing with improperly marked gear, 4 points.

(5) Points for any other offense established or designated by regulation of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, shall be as provided in the regulation relating to the prohibitions of this section.

(Acts 1943, No. 587, p. 590, §4; Acts 1988, No. 88-577, p. 897, §6; Acts 1993, No. 93-322, p. 486, §9; Acts 1995, No. 95-287, p. 535, §2; Act 2008-467, p. 1022, §3; Act 2013-374, p. 1371, §1.)