Section 9-12-232

Commercial gill net permits - Acquisition and retirement.

(a) The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources shall establish and administer a voluntary program to acquire and retire commercial gill net permits of saltwater commercial fishermen issued pursuant to Section 9-12-113.

(b) Each resident Alabama saltwater commercial fisherman who possesses a valid Alabama permit June 1, 2008, and any nonresident commercial fisherman who has held a commercial gill net license for 25 years or more without a fishing violation who possesses a valid Alabama permit on June 1, 2008, may surrender his or her license on or before March 1, 2009.

(c) Upon surrender of the license, the following shall apply:

(1) If the total income of the license holder from dockside value of finfish harvested and landed in Alabama using gill nets in the last three years was less than five thousand dollars ($5,000), the licensee shall receive a payment from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources of six thousand dollars ($6,000), payable by March 1, 2009.

(2) If the total income of the license holder from dockside values of finfish harvested and landed in Alabama using gill nets was above five thousand dollars ($5,000), but less than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000), he or she shall receive a one-time payment from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources equal to 200 percent of his or her highest income for the calendar year 2005, 2006, or 2007, payable by March 1, 2009.

(3) In the event the total income of the license holder from dockside values of finfish harvested and landed in Alabama using gill nets was over twenty thousand dollars ($20,000), he or she shall receive from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources a one-time payment equal to 125 percent of the highest income from the calendar year 2005, 2006, or 2007, payable by March 1, 2009.

(d) In addition, any saltwater commercial fisherman surrendering his or her license shall receive two academic years of free tuition at any public institution operated by the Department of Postsecondary Education, provided the fisherman has completed registration for any classes to be taken within five years of June 1, 2008.

(e) All payments made to the person who surrenders his or her license shall be considered as compensatory in nature and excludable from Alabama gross income tax.

(f) Each saltwater commercial fisherman who surrenders his or her license under this section shall be ineligible to purchase a commercial gill net license thereafter. In addition, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources shall not issue a replacement license for the license surrendered.

(g) After June 1, 2008, the holder of a license must be present whenever a gill net is being used for fishing.

(h) Any person on June 1, 2008, who has been issued a commercial gill net license for the 2007-2008 license year may continue to annually purchase a new commercial gill net license for use in near-shore and inshore salt and brackish Alabama waters for the remainder of the person's life, subject to the requirements of Section 9-12-113. Any person authorized to purchase a commercial gill net license pursuant to this subsection who fails to purchase such a license for any year shall not be eligible to purchase a commercial gill net license thereafter. Notwithstanding any provision of Section 9-12-113, any person holding a commercial gill net license thereafter may not transfer the license.

(i) After June 1, 2008, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources shall not issue a permit for commercial gill net fishing to any nonresident.

(Act 2008-467, p. 1022, §4.)