Section 9-12-150

Artificial reef construction permit; transportation, inspection, etc., of reef materials; bond; penalties.

(a) Before any person, firm, corporation, or association constructs or attempts to construct an artificial fishing reef in the coastal waters of the State of Alabama as defined by Section 9-7-10, or waters approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers adjacent to or which may affect the coastal area of Alabama as defined by Section 9-7-10, and transports or attempts to transport material from which artificial reefs may be constructed through the waters of this state, the person, firm, corporation, or association shall have the material inspected and approved by and shall obtain a permit from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Marine Resources Division, or any agency designated in the future by the division, the cost of which shall be twenty-five dollars ($25) per reef and shall be credited to the Marine Resources Fund. Materials are limited to those permitted under the Standard Operating Protocol for Artificial Reef Construction through the Marine Resources Division of the department. An operator of a vessel loaded with material which is to be used in construction of artificial fishing reefs, or the operator of a vessel towing or pushing a vessel loaded with the material, shall have in possession a current valid artificial reef construction permit when transporting the material through the waters of Alabama. The operator of a vessel registered in Alabama shall have in possession a current valid artificial reef construction permit when depositing the material in an area approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers adjacent to the coastal area of Alabama or which may affect the coastal area of Alabama. The term "vessel", as used in this section includes any watercraft or barge used to transport materials for the construction of artificial reefs.

(b) Any person, firm, corporation, or association cited for not having in possession a current valid artificial reef construction permit shall be required to immediately return to the dock. Failure to do so shall be considered a separate violation of this section.

(c) Vessels in transit through the waters of Alabama are subject to inspection of the reef material by authorities including, but not limited to, the U.S. Coast Guard, Alabama Marine Police, or the Marine Resources Division, when transporting material through the waters of Alabama. Vessels registered in Alabama are subject to inspection by authorities when depositing or attempting to deposit material in an area approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers adjacent to the coastal area of Alabama or which may affect the coastal area of Alabama regardless of whether the vessel traveled through Alabama waters.

(d) Vessels and vessel operators transporting permitted artificial reef material shall notify the Marine Resources Division of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in advance of deployment reporting the time of departure from the dock, destination, and estimated time of arrival at destination. Vessels shall also file a float plan at least one day in advance of deployment in accordance with the Standard Operating Protocol for Artificial Reef Construction through the Marine Resources Division of the department.

(e) Any person, firm, or corporation depositing unpermitted reef material or permitted material in areas other than those designated by the Corps of Engineers shall be in violation of this section. The deposit of the material must be witnessed to support a conviction for a violation.

(f) The Marine Resources Division of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources may require a bond in an amount sufficient to protect the interest of the State of Alabama payable to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in the event of a violation of the permit. The bond shall be issued by a licensed bonding company approved in advance by the department.

(g) Any person, firm, corporation, or association violating this section shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor and punishable by a fine of not less than five thousand dollars ($5,000) and not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

(Act 2000-449, p. 810, § 1.)