Today's Law As Amended

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SB-1017 Commercial fishing: drift gill net shark and swordfish fishery.(2017-2018)



SECTION 1.
 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) It is in the best interest of the people of the state, the commercial fishing industry, and California’s marine resources that fishermen use the most sustainable fishing gear available to harvest seafood off the California coast.
(b) Large-scale pelagic drift gill nets targeting swordfish and sharks have been banned on the high seas and in ocean waters of many countries worldwide and are banned or are no longer permitted by all other states because of the unavoidable impacts to marine wildlife, including whales, dolphins, sharks, pinnipeds, and sea turtles, including the California state marine reptile, the Pacific leatherback sea turtle. Many California species killed by the drift gill net fishery are protected under state and federal law or covered under international agreements, such as the sperm whale, the leatherback sea turtle, the loggerhead sea turtle, the bigeye thresher shark, and the scalloped hammerhead shark.
(c) Impacts to California’s marine and coastal resources have been a persistent concern with the use of drift gill nets. According to data collected pursuant to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s observer program, California’s drift gill net fishery discards on average over one-half of all fish caught, kills over 70 different marine species as bycatch, and has among the highest rates of marine mammal and sea turtle interactions across all West Coast fisheries.
(d) California should set the standard for sustainable swordfish fishing globally and follow the lead of the other states in implementing sustainable alternatives. California’s standards for sustainability and low environmental impacts in commercial fishing are critical for addressing impacts in foreign fisheries, since these standards frame the scope of international efforts to push for stronger international standards, both diplomatically and as a matter of federal law. Continuing the use of destructive fishing gears in California enables the use of similar gears in fisheries that export seafood into the United States and limits federal efforts to restrict, limit, and reduce impacts from those imports.
(e) The Pacific Fishery Management Council is in the process of authorizing a new innovative technology for fishing swordfish known as deep set buoy gear. This gear has been deployed commercially on the East Coast where it has proven to be among the most selective and sustainable gears used to catch swordfish, and results of commercial trials off California demonstrate the gear can effectively catch swordfish with minimal bycatch or bycatch mortality. This gear could be used to improve the fishing practices of California’s swordfish fishery.
(f) Given the economic and environmental benefits to the people of the state, California should prioritize financial support for the deployment of innovative sustainable gear types. It is the intent of the Legislature to direct new entrants into the swordfish fishery toward the use of lower impact fishing gears for a modern fishery, while allowing current participants in the drift gill net fishery to continue those practices with additional monitoring and bycatch safeguards until retirement.

SEC. 2.

 Section 60.5 is added to the Fish and Game Code, to read:

60.5.
 “Observer” means an independent specialist who serves aboard a fishing vessel for the purpose of monitoring catch and bycatch.

SEC. 3.

 Section 8394.5 of the Fish and Game Code is amended to read:

8394.5.
 The fee for the permit issued pursuant to Section 8394 is three hundred thirty dollars ($330). This permit fee does not apply to the holder of a valid drift gill net shark and swordfish permit required under Article 16 (commencing with Section 8560) of Chapter 2. 8561) or to any person who participates in the permit buyback program established by the department pursuant to Section 8583. 

SEC. 4.

 Section 8561.5 of the Fish and Game Code is amended to read:

8561.5.
 (a) Notwithstanding Section 8102, a permit issued pursuant to Section 8561 may be transferred by the permittee only if one of the following conditions is met:
(1) The permittee has held the permit for three or more years.
(2) The permittee is permanently injured or suffers a serious illness that will result in a hardship, as determined in a written finding by the director, to the permittee or his or her family if the permit may not otherwise be transferred or upon dissolution of a marriage where the permit is held to be community property.
(3) The permittee has died and his or her surviving spouse, heirs, or estate seeks to transfer the permit within six months of the death of the permittee or, with the written approval of the director, within the length of time that it may reasonably take to effect the transfer.
(b) A permit may be transferred only to a person who holds a valid general gill net permit issued to that person pursuant to Section 8681 that has not been suspended or revoked.
(c) The transfer of a permit shall only become effective upon notice from the department. An application for transfer shall be submitted to the department with such reasonable proof as the department may require to establish the qualification of the person the permit is to be transferred to, the payment to the department of a transfer fee of one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500), and a written disclosure, filed under penalty of perjury, of the terms of the transfer.
(d) Any restrictions on participation that were required in a permit transferred pursuant to Section 8102 before January 1, 1990, are of no further force or effect.
(e) This section shall become inoperative on March 31, 2019, and, as of January 1, 2020, is repealed.

SEC. 5.

 Section 8561.5 is added to the Fish and Game Code, to read:

8561.5.
 (a) Notwithstanding Section 8102 or any other law, a permit issued pursuant to Section 8561 may only be transferred by the permittee to an entity engaged in retiring permits.
(b) This section shall become operative on March 31, 2019.

SEC. 6.

 Section 8567 of the Fish and Game Code is amended to read:

8567.
 (a)  The fee for a drift gill net shark and swordfish permit that expires on March 31, 2019,  shall be three four  hundred thirty dollars ($330). eighty-two dollars and seventy-five cents ($482.75). 
(b) The fee for a drift gill net shark and swordfish permit that is valid for the license year beginning April 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020, inclusive, shall be one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500).
(c) The fee for a drift gill net shark and swordfish permit that is valid in any license year beginning on or after April 1, 2020, shall be three thousand dollars ($3,000), as adjusted pursuant to Section 713.

SEC. 7.

 Section 8578 is added to the Fish and Game Code, to read:

8578.
 (a) From April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2025, inclusive, the department shall require, as a condition of receiving a permit pursuant to Section 8561, every permittee to have an observer on board his or her vessel on each trip in which the permittee uses a drift gill net.
(b) On or before January 1, 2020, the department shall adopt hard caps, which shall be effective from April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2025, inclusive, for bycatch consistent with the preferred alternative for the California large mesh drift gill net fishery adopted by the Pacific Fishery Management Council in September 2015. Notwithstanding Section 8577, if the department determines that a hard cap for any species is reached in any given two-year period, the department shall immediately close the drift gill net shark and swordfish fishery for the remainder of that period.
(c) The department shall evaluate bycatch data gathered from observers and determine by April 1, 2025, whether the continued use of observers and hard caps is warranted in order to protect marine life species caught as bycatch in the fishery. If the department determines that the continued use of observers and hard caps is warranted, the department shall adopt regulations to be effective beginning April 1, 2025, to require the continued use of observers and hard caps in the drift gill net shark and swordfish fishery with any adjustments the department deems necessary to protect marine life species caught as bycatch in the fishery.
(d) For purposes of this section, “hard cap” means the total maximum number of any marine life species allowed to be injured or killed in a drift gill net before closure of the drift gill net shark and swordfish fishery.

SEC. 8.

 Section 8579 of the Fish and Game Code is amended to read:

8579.
 (a) A permittee shall be subject to the provisions of this article whenever the permittee is using a drift gill net, unless the permittee has surrendered his or her permit to the department.
(b)  (1)  A permittee shall be subject to the provisions of this article whenever the permittee is using a drift gill net, unless the permittee has surrendered his or her permit to the department. A permittee  may surrender his or her permit by notifying the department’s Long Beach office of his or her intentions by telegram or certified letter and by sending or delivering his or her permit to a department office. A permittee may reclaim his or her permit at any time during regular working hours, if the permit has not been suspended or revoked. 
(2) A permittee may reclaim his or her permit surrendered pursuant to paragraph (1) at any time during regular working hours, if the permit has not been suspended or revoked.
(c) Paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) does not apply to any permit surrendered pursuant to Section 8583.

SEC. 9.

 Section 8583 is added to the Fish and Game Code, to read:

8583.
 (a) Between January 1, 2019, and March 31, 2020, inclusive, the department shall develop a program to buy back permits issued pursuant to Section 8561 that includes the following conditions:
(1) The department shall conduct a reverse sealed bid auction for permittees who have landed swordfish or thresher shark on or after April 1, 2012. Each qualifying permittee who volunteers to participate shall submit an irrevocable bid. The department shall purchase permits starting with lowest bids until 75 percent of available funds are expended.
(2) Permittees who have landed swordfish or thresher shark on or after April 1, 2007, but not on or after April 1, 2012, and who volunteer to participate in the buyback program shall be compensated three times the five-year average of the value of the permittee’s swordfish and thresher shark landings from April 1, 2007, to March 31, 2012, or ____ dollars ($____), whichever is larger.
(3) Permittees who have not landed swordfish or thresher shark since April 1, 2007, and who volunteer to participate in the buyback program shall receive ____ dollars ($____).
(4) Any permittee who participates in the buyback program shall be prohibited from obtaining a new California drift gill net shark and swordfish permit, shall agree not to fish under a federal drift gill net permit, shall agree not to transfer or renew a federal drift gill net permit, and shall surrender his or her large mesh drift gill net.
(b) The department shall implement the buyback program developed pursuant to subdivision (a) upon appropriation by the Legislature of private or federal funding received by the department for the purposes of implementing the buyback program. The department may obtain funding from federal, state, nonprofit, or private sources for the buyback program. The department shall inform both budget committees and all policy committees with jurisdiction over fisheries issues once it has received funding equal to one-third of the projected cost of the buyback program.
SEC. 10.
 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.