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AB-1949 Fisheries: California Ocean Resources Enhancement and Hatchery Program.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 06/04/2020 04:00 AM
AB1949:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  June 03, 2020

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1949


Introduced by Assembly Member Boerner Horvath
(Principal coauthor: Senator Bates)

January 17, 2020


An act to amend Sections 6590, 6591, 6592, 6593, 6594, 6595, and 6597 of, and to repeal Section 6598 of, the Fish and Game Code, relating to fisheries.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1949, as amended, Boerner Horvath. Fisheries: California Ocean Resources Enhancement and Hatchery Program.
(1) Existing law establishes the California Ocean Resources Enhancement and Hatchery Program for the purpose of basic and applied research on the artificial propagation, rearing, stocking, and distribution of adversely affected marine fish species that are important to sport or commercial fishing in ocean waters south of Point Arguello. Under existing law, the program is administered by the Director of Fish and Wildlife with the advice and assistance of the Ocean Resources Enhancement Advisory Panel. Existing law specifies the membership of the advisory panel and establishes a specified appointing authority for each member of the advisory panel. Existing law prohibits financing of any part of the program unless it has been approved by the director and by a majority of the members of the advisory panel.
This bill would expand the purpose of the program to encompass any marine fish species important to sport and commercial fishing. The bill would revise provisions relating to the advisory panel by, among other things, specifying which members are voting members, by adding a voting member representing the public or nongovernmental organization interests, or both, by providing for an alternate member to be designated for each voting member, and by establishing 3-year terms for each member and alternate member. The bill would require all members and alternate members to be appointed by the director after soliciting nominations for members and evaluating certain criteria. Except for the advisory panel’s advisory function, the bill would eliminate the advisory panel’s other functions, including the power to approve financing of any part of the program.
(2) Existing law authorizes the Department of Fish and Wildlife to contract with private nonprofit organizations that meet certain criteria to conduct research projects for purposes of the California Ocean Resources Enhancement and Hatchery Program. Existing law authorizes the department to enter into one or more agreements to accept services from any person, nonprofit organization, or other public or private entity for purposes relating to conservation programs, projects, and activities by the department.
This bill would expand the department’s contracting authority under the program by authorizing the department to contract with any public or private entity to conduct research projects. The bill would also specifically authorize the department to accept volunteer assistance for program operations. operations, provided that volunteers do not displace existing state employees.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 6590 of the Fish and Game Code is amended to read:

6590.
 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Substantial declines in various species of desirable fish that are caught in southern California ocean waters have adversely affected sport and commercial fishing and their related industries.
(b) The purpose of this article is to determine if hatchery-released fish can enhance certain stocks of desirable species and contribute to research and scientific understanding of marine hatchery operations and benefits.
(c) Funding for the program is most appropriately borne by a special fund derived from user fees on sport and commercial fishermen who stand to directly benefit from the resurgence of depressed marine fisheries.
(d) The department has continuing resource management, administrative, and policy review responsibility in marine resources issues.
(e) Volunteers from the recreational fishing community have developed and operated grow-out facilities with private funding. These volunteer activities greatly enhance the effectiveness of the program and are fully compatible with the overall program objectives.
(f) As white sea bass hatchery production is established, additional grow-out facilities will be required and coordination between these facilities will be necessary. The ocean resources enhancement advisory panel may encourage contracts to carry out coordination activities and recommend to the director that this coordination remain a high priority. Those coordination activities may be funded with fees collected by the department pursuant to this article.
(g) The use of federal matching funds, including sportfish restoration account funds, shall be a high priority for use to match state dollars for this program.
(h) The department may benefit from contracting with other public or private entities to further the purposes of this article.

SEC. 2.

 Section 6591 of the Fish and Game Code is amended to read:

6591.
 For purposes of this article, the following definitions apply:
(a) “Advisory panel” means the Ocean Resources Enhancement Advisory Panel established pursuant to Section 6594.
(b) “Program” means the California Ocean Resources Enhancement and Hatchery Program established by this article.

SEC. 3.

 Section 6592 of the Fish and Game Code is amended to read:

6592.
 There is hereby established in state government the California Ocean Resources Enhancement and Hatchery Program. The purpose of the program is to advance research on the artificial propagation, rearing, stocking, and distribution of marine fish species that are important to sport and commercial fishing in the ocean waters off the coast of California south of a line extending due west from Point Arguello, including research on the efficacy of artificial enhancement of stocks of these marine fish species through hatchery production.

SEC. 4.

 Section 6593 of the Fish and Game Code is amended to read:

6593.
 (a) The program is administered by the director with the advice of the advisory panel.
(b) A person shall not serve on the advisory panel if that person is receiving research funding from the program.
(c) The director may appoint, with the advice of the advisory panel, a program manager to assist in administering the program.
(d) The director shall consider the advice of the advisory panel regarding program administration, including the expenditure of fee revenue and other sources of program funding.

SEC. 5.

 Section 6594 of the Fish and Game Code is amended to read:

6594.
 (a) To advise the director in establishing policy and direction for the program, the director shall establish the Ocean Resources Enhancement Advisory Panel.
(b) The advisory panel shall consist of the following members, all of whom shall be residents of California:
(1) One nonvoting member representing the department.
(2) One nonvoting member representing the California Sea Grant program.
(3) Two voting members representing the southern California commercial fishing industry.
(4) One voting member representing the southern California commercial passenger fishing vessel industry.
(5) Three voting members representing the southern California sport fishing industry.
(6) One voting member representing the southern California aquaculture industry.
(7) One voting member representing the public or nongovernmental organization interests, or both.
(c) There shall be a designated alternate member for each voting member of the advisory panel.
(d) The director shall appoint members and alternate members of the advisory panel after soliciting nominations for members and evaluating the experience, demonstrated program knowledge, and relevant stakeholder support of nominees.
(e) Each appointment of a member or alternate member shall be for a term of three years. There shall be no limit on the number of terms a member may serve on the advisory panel.

SEC. 6.

 Section 6595 of the Fish and Game Code is amended to read:

6595.
 (a) All fees collected by the department pursuant to this article, and any interest earned on those fees, shall be deposited in the Fish and Game Preservation Fund and shall be available, upon appropriation by the Legislature, solely for purposes of the program. The department shall maintain the internal accountability necessary to ensure that expenditures of these funds meet the requirements and restrictions of the purposes of the program.
(b) An amount, not to exceed 15 percent of the total annual revenues deposited in the Fish and Game Preservation Fund pursuant to this article, may be appropriated for the administration of the program, including any reasonable and necessary expenses incurred by members of the advisory panel in the discharge of their duties pursuant to this article.

SEC. 7.

 Section 6597 of the Fish and Game Code is amended to read:

6597.
 (a) The department may contract with any public or private entity to conduct research projects pursuant to this article.
(b) The department may accept volunteer assistance for program operations, including, but not limited to, assistance with regard to grow-out facilities. facilities, provided that volunteers do not displace existing state employees.

SEC. 8.

 Section 6598 of the Fish and Game Code is repealed.