Amend the bill by inserting after the title and before the enacting clause the following:
‘Emergency preamble. Whereas, acts and resolves of the Legislature do not become effective until 90 days after adjournment unless enacted as emergencies; and
Whereas, the sustainability of the harvesting practices used to harvest rockweed in Cobscook Bay has been questioned; and
Whereas, additional regulation of rockweed harvesting in Cobscook Bay is necessary to ensure the conservation and long-term health of rockweed in the bay; and
Whereas, this legislation must take effect immediately in order to apply to the harvest of rockweed in Cobscook Bay this spring; and
Whereas, in the judgment of the Legislature, these facts create an emergency within the meaning of the Constitution of Maine and require the following legislation as immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety; now, therefore,’
Amend the bill by striking out everything after the enacting clause and inserting the following:
‘Sec. 1. 12 MRSA §6803-A is enacted to read:
Sec. 2. 12 MRSA §6803-B is enacted to read:
A person licensed under section 6803-A shall pay an annual surcharge, which must be deposited in the Seaweed Management Fund established under section 6806. The commissioner shall establish the surcharge by rule, but the surcharge may not exceed $5 per wet ton. The commissioner may refuse to renew a license under this Part or exclude a person from participating in harvest plans under section 6803-C, subsection 4 for failing to pay the surcharge under this section.
Sec. 3. 12 MRSA §6803-C is enacted to read:
Sec. 4. Report on seaweed research plan and on seaweed harvest activities. The Commissioner of Marine Resources shall report to the Joint Standing Committee on Marine Resources by January 15, 2010 the following:
1. Recommendations on a research plan for the seaweed resource in Cobscook Bay; and
2. A report on the 2009 seaweed harvest in Cobscook Bay that includes, but is not limited to, harvester compliance with regulations and the Quoddy Regional Land Trust voluntary no-harvest registry.
The Joint Standing Committee on Marine Resources may submit legislation to the Second Regular Session of the 124th Legislature regarding this report.
Emergency clause. In view of the emergency cited in the preamble, this legislation takes effect when approved.’
This amendment replaces the bill, changes the title and adds an emergency preamble and emergency clause. The amendment:
1. Creates a seaweed buyer license for a person who purchases more than 10 wet tons annually directly from seaweed harvesters who hold permits and allows the license holder to buy, possess, ship, transport and sell seaweed. The fee for the license is $200 for a resident and $500 for a nonresident. Fees collected accrue to the Seaweed Management Fund;
2. Creates a seaweed buyer's surcharge and directs the Commissioner of Marine Resources to establish the surcharge by rule, but it may not exceed $5 per wet ton;
3. Creates the Cobscook Bay Rockweed Management Area and requires the Commissioner of Marine Resources to identify areas within the Cobscook Bay Rockweed Management Area that are closed to the commercial harvest of rockweed including, but not limited, to areas around public and private conservation areas, state parks and federally owned lands and lobster nursery areas;
4. Directs the Commissioner of Marine Resources to identify and close to the commercial harvest of rockweed up to 30 acres within Cobscook Bay for the purpose of research;
5. Requires the Commissioner of Marine Resources to divide the Cobscook Bay Rockweed Management Area into at least 14 harvest management sectors;
6. Requires commercial harvesters to submit an annual harvest plan to harvest rockweed within the Cobscook Bay Rockweed Management Area;
7. Provides that the total biomass that may be removed from a harvest management sector within the Cobscook Bay Management Area may not exceed 17% of the harvestable biomass that is eligible to be harvested annually. The amendment provides that a report of the total biomass removed must be submitted by the harvestor to the commissioner, and that after January 1, 2010 the harvester's report must be verified by a 3rd party;
8. Requires a person who harvests rockweed to make a reasonable effort to remove marine organisms harvested with the rockweed from the harvested seaweed and return those marine organisms alive back into Cobscook Bay as soon as practicable;
9. Makes violations of prohibitions related to the Cobscook Bay Management Area a Class E crime for which a fine of not less than $1,000 must be adjudged and provides that each day a violation occurs it constitutes a separate violation; and
10. Directs the commissioner to report to the Joint Standing Committee on Marine Resources by January 15, 2010 recommendations for a seaweed research plan for Cobscook Bay and on the 2009 seaweed harvest in Cobscook Bay. It gives that committee the authority to submit legislation to the Second Regular Session of the 124th Legislature regarding the report.