§ 20-3.1-7. Studies and analyses.
The department, with the advice and involvement of the council, the University of Rhode Island Coastal Institute, and commercial and recreational fishing interests, shall undertake the following studies and analyses that shall evaluate the full reasonable range of options for improving fisheries management in Rhode Island. The process for undertaking these studies and analyses and developing legislative options for consideration by the general assembly shall be open, inclusive, and participatory and shall fairly and appropriately involve the range of fishing interests and give fair and balanced consideration to the interests of year-round, seasonal, and recreational fishers, full and part-time fishers, aquaculturists, and persons who may wish to participate in fishing in the future:
(1) Principles for fisheries management. The department shall, by October 1, 2001, recommend goals and principles to guide the development and implementation of a restructured marine fisheries management system.
(2) Commercial fisheries. The department shall, by January 1, 2002, recommend options for commercial fishing licenses that address license eligibility; provide for new entrants into fisheries in the state; and establish an analytic basis for and a method to manage fisheries by effort, as well as by quota for catch by species.
(3) Recreational fisheries. The department is authorized to propose a licensing system for recreational fisheries for the purposes of: (i) Obtaining reliable data about the level and effects of recreational fishing in the state; (ii) Improving the quality and extent of recreational fishing opportunities in Rhode Island; and (iii) Providing revenue to be used solely and exclusively for the purposes of managing recreational fisheries and enhancing recreational fishing opportunities. The licensing system shall not be effective either before April 1, 2003, or without general assembly approval, and shall be put into effect by rule, after a finding by the director, following the general assembly approval, that the system is fair, enforceable, and accomplishes the purposes of this chapter.
(4) Commercial aquaculture. The department shall, by January 1, 2002, develop proposed rules and recommend statutory changes for the purposes of fostering the expansion and competitiveness of commercial aquaculture, which rules shall treat commercial aquaculture as a separate and distinct activity from commercial fishing.
The department shall develop a plan, by January 1, 2002, to coordinate Rhode Island licensing requirements with federal licensing requirements and licensing requirements in other states that minimizes conflicts and confusion in licensing and reporting; provides for consistent data collection and analysis; and supports regional management efforts that maintain or enhance the stewardship and productivity of fisheries resources.
(P.L. 2001, ch. 58, § 5.)