Presenter: Larry McKinney

Commission Agenda Item No. 15
Action
License Buyback Program Funding Sources - Surcharge Fee
August 2004

I. Executive Summary: Funds derived from the $3.00 surcharge fee on the Saltwater Sportfishing Stamp have significantly accelerated the purchase of commercial fishing licenses from willing sellers in the three limited-entry fisheries. This fee is scheduled by rule to end September 1, 2005. If the buyback program is to continue at its current pace continued funding is needed. This action would remove the current expiration date on the $3.00 surcharge, which would effectively continue the surcharge until the Commission removes it.

II. Discussion: During the May 2004 meeting, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Regulations Committee directed staff to publish a proposal extending the $3.00 surcharge fee associated with the Saltwater Sportfishing Stamp. While a percentage of other fees have been used for purchasing commercial licenses from the limited-entry fisheries (i.e., crab, finfish, and inshore shrimp), funds derived from the $3.00 surcharge fee are used exclusively for this purpose. To date, most of the funds expended have been used for the purchase of commercial bay and bait shrimp fishing boat licenses. This is primarily due to differences in the size of the fisheries, and the fact that the inshore shrimp fishery was the first limited entry program and buyback program established.

While the buyback program has been successful from its inception in reducing license numbers and is showing evidence of reducing fishing effort, the ability to continue to purchase licenses at the current pace is dependent on the continuation of the $3 saltwater surcharge. For example, following the implementation of the $3 surcharge (i.e., for the 2000-01 License Year), the average annual purchase of commercial bay and bait shrimp fishing boat licenses increased 43.5 percent per year. Another way of expressing this difference, based on the average number of licenses bought back each of the three years before there was a surcharge compared to the average number bought back each of the four years with funding from a surcharge, is that 216 commercial bay and bait shrimp fishing boat licenses were purchased that could not have otherwise been purchased. To date, $6,372,855 has been spent in the purchase of 1,084 commercial bay and bait shrimp fishing boat licenses. Additionally, during the same period $716,107 has been spent purchasing 25 commercial crab fishing boat licenses and 125 commercial finfish fishing boat licenses.

III. Recommendation: Staff recommends that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion:

"The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts an amendment to 31 TAC Chapter 53, Subchapter A (Fees), §53.6(b)(2). Saltwater Sportfishing Stamp, with changes to the proposed text as published in the July 23, 2004, issue of the Texas Register (29 TexReg 7032)."

Attachment – 1

  1. Exhibit A – Saltwater Sportfish Stamp Surcharge Fee

Commission Agenda Item No. 15
Exhibit A

Saltwater Sportfish Stamp Surcharge Fee
Proposal Preamble

1. Introduction.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes an amendment to §53.6, concerning saltwater stamp fees. The amendment increases the future fee for the Saltwater Sportfishing Stamp. The amendment would function by removing the expiration date from the $3 surcharge to the saltwater sportfishing stamp fee. The amendment is necessary to maintain or accelerate the department's commercial fishing license buyback programs for shrimp, crab, and finfish, established in Texas Parks and Wildlife Code, §§77.119, 78.111, and 47.081, respectively.

The license buyback funds are used for purchasing and retiring commercial crab, finfish, bait shrimp, and bay shrimp boat licenses, which reduces the number of license holders and fishing effort in these fisheries. The proposal to maintain the $3 surcharge (or to increase the current saltwater stamp by $3 when the current $3 surcharge expires) will help to accelerate the buyback programs in future years.

Currently, the buyback programs for each fishery under a limited entry system (crab, finfish and inshore shrimp) are supported by a percentage of the license fees collected to fish or participate in the fishery. In addition, the department during the 2000-01 license year established the existing $3 surcharge on the saltwater sportfishing stamp, which generated approximately $1.4 million per year. The license buyback programs depend on voluntary sellers to offer their licenses to be purchased by the department. To date, most of the funds expended have been used for the purchase of commercial bay and bait shrimp fishing boat licenses. This is primarily due to the size of the fishery and that the inshore shrimp fishery was the first limited entry program and buyback program established.

Following the implementation of the $3 surcharge, the average annual purchase of commercial bay and bait shrimp fishing boat licenses increased 43.5% per year. Another way of expressing this difference, based on the average number of licenses bought back each of the three years before there was a surcharge compared to the average number bought back each of the four years with funding from a surcharge, is that 216 commercial bay and bait shrimp fishing boat licenses were purchased that could not have otherwise been purchased. To date, $6,372,855 has been spent in the purchase of 1,084 commercial bay and bait shrimp fishing boat licenses. Additionally, during the same period $716,107 has been spent purchasing 25 commercial crab fishing boat licenses and 125 commercial finfish fishing boat licenses. While the program has been successful from its inception in reducing license numbers and is showing evidence of reducing fishing effort, the ability to continue to purchase licenses at the current pace is dependent on the continuation of the $3 saltwater surcharge.

2. Fiscal Note.

Mr. Robin Riechers, management director of the Coastal Fisheries Division, has determined that for each of the first five years that the rule as proposed is in effect, there will be fiscal implications to state government as a result of enforcing or administering the rules, consisting of approximately $1.4 million in additional revenues for the funding of license buyback programs. The revenue estimates are based on the annual average of saltwater stamps sold in Fiscal Year 2001, 2002, and 2003 (461,328 original licenses sold). Since this is a continuation of a current surcharge on the saltwater stamp there is not expected to be a decline in sales associated with the continuation of the surcharge. There will be no fiscal implications for units of state government.

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

Mr. Riechers also has determined that for each of the first five years the rule as proposed is in effect:

(A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the rules as proposed, will be: (a) additional revenues to fund the license buyback program and the purchase and retirement of licenses, benefiting those remaining in the industry by reducing competition; and, (b) reduced fishing pressure on shrimp, crab, and finfish fisheries, which creates public benefits by enhancing the populations of those species and the overall health of the ecosystem.

(B) There will be no adverse economic costs to small businesses or microbusinesses. There will be a cost to persons required to comply with the rule as proposed, namely, the $3 increase in the cost of a Saltwater Sportfishing Stamp for persons who fish in the salt water of this state after Fiscal Year 2005.

(C) The department has not filed a local impact statement with the Texas Workforce Commission as required by Government Code, §2001.022, as this agency has determined that the rules as proposed will not impact local economies.

The department has determined that there will not be a taking of private real property, as defined by Government Code, Chapter 2007, as a result of the proposed rules.

(D) The department has determined that Government Code, §2001.0225 (Regulatory Analysis of Major Environmental Rules) does not apply to the proposed rule.

(E) The department has determined that Government Code, Chapter 2007 (Governmental Action Affecting Private Property Rights), does not apply to the proposed rule.

4. Request for Public Comment.

Comments on the proposed rule may be submitted to Jerry Cooke, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744; (512) 389-4492; e-mail: jerry.cooke@tpwd.state.tx.us.

5. Statutory Authority.

The amendment is proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter M, which authorizes the commission to set the fee for the Saltwater Sportfishing Stamp. The proposed amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43.

§53.6. Recreational Fishing Licenses, Stamps, and Tags.

(a) The items listed in this subsection are sold only as part of a package. The price and terms of these items are as follows:

(1) resident fishing license--$23

(2) special resident fishing license--$6

(3) "year-from-purchase" resident fishing license--$30. The "Year-from-purchase" resident fishing license is valid from the date of purchase through the end of the purchase month of the subsequent year.

(4) July and August resident fishing license-- $20. The July and August resident fishing license is valid from the first day of July through the last day of August for the license year of purchase.

(5) day resident fishing license--$6. The day resident license is valid within a license year for the specified days of the resident "day plus" package within which it is sold.

(6) non-resident fishing license--$50

(7) day non-resident fishing license--$12. The day non-resident license is valid within a license year for the specified days of the non-resident "day plus" package within which it is sold.

(b) The items listed in this subsection may be sold individually or as part of a package. Stamps sold individually shall be valid from the date of purchase or the start date of the license year, whichever is later, through the last day of the license year. Stamps sold as part of a fishing package shall be valid for the same time period as the license included in the package as specified in this rule. The price of these stamps are as follows:

(1) freshwater fishing stamp--$5; and

(2) saltwater sportfishing stamp --$7 plus a saltwater sport fishing stamp surcharge of $3 [(surcharge to be effective until September 1, 2005)]. A red drum tag shall be issued at no additional charge with each saltwater sportfishing stamp.

(c) Fishing packages and licenses. The price of any fishing package shall be the sum of the price of the individual items included in the package

(1) resident freshwater fishing package - $28. Package consists of a resident fishing license and a freshwater fish stamp;

(2) resident saltwater fishing package - $33. Package consists of a resident fishing license and a saltwater sportfishing stamp with a red drum tag;

(3) resident "all water" fishing package - $38. Package consists of a resident fishing license, a freshwater fishing stamp, and a saltwater sportfishing stamp with a red drum tag;

(4) special resident freshwater fishing package--$11. Package consists of a special resident fishing license and a freshwater fishing stamp;

(5) special resident saltwater fishing package--$16. Package consists of a special resident fishing license and a saltwater sportfishing stamp with a red drum tag;

(6) special resident "all water" fishing package - $21. Package consists of a special resident fishing license, a freshwater fishing stamp, and a saltwater sportfishing stamp with a red drum tag;

(7) "year-from-purchase" resident "all water" fishing package--$45. Package consists of a "year-from-purchase" resident fishing license, a freshwater stamp, and a saltwater sportfishing stamp with a red drum tag;

(8) July and August resident freshwater fishing package--$25. Package consists of a July and August resident fishing license and a freshwater fishing stamp.

(9) July and August resident saltwater fishing package --$30. Package consists of a July and August resident fishing license and a saltwater sportfishing stamp with a red drum tag.

(10) July and August resident "all water" fishing package--$35. Package consists of a July and August resident fishing license, a freshwater fishing stamp, and a saltwater sportfishing stamp with a red drum tag.

(11) resident freshwater fishing "day plus" package--$11 for the first day plus $4 for each additional consecutive day. Package consists of a day resident fishing license and a freshwater fishing stamp, valid for the number of days purchased. Any purchaser who has previously purchased this package within the license year may repurchase this package at $6 for the first day plus $4 for each additional consecutive day. The privileges of the stamp shall be extended to the holder for the term of the subsequent purchase of this package.

(12) resident saltwater fishing "day plus" package--$16 for the first day plus $4 for each additional consecutive day. Package consists of a day resident fishing license and a saltwater sportfishing stamp with a red drum tag, valid for the number of days purchased. Any purchaser who has previously purchased this package within the license year may repurchase this package at $6 for the first day plus $4 for each additional consecutive day. The privileges of the stamp shall be extended to the holder for the term of the subsequent purchase of this package.

(13) resident all water fishing "day plus" package--$21 for the first day plus $4 for each additional consecutive day. Package consists of a day resident fishing license, a freshwater fishing stamp, and a saltwater sportfishing stamp with a red drum tag, valid for the number of days purchased. Any purchaser who has previously purchased this package within the license year may repurchase this package at $6 for the first day plus $4 for each additional consecutive day. The privileges of the stamps shall be extended to the holder for the term of the subsequent purchase of this package.

(14) non-resident freshwater fishing package - $55. Package consists of a non-resident fishing license and a freshwater fish stamp.

(15) non-resident saltwater fishing package - $60. Package consists of a non-resident fishing license and a saltwater sportfishing stamp with a red drum tag.

(16) non-resident "all water" fishing package - $65. Package consists of a non-resident fishing license, a freshwater fishing stamp, and a saltwater sportfishing stamp with a red drum tag.

(17) non-resident freshwater fishing "day plus" package--$17 for the first day plus $8 for each additional consecutive day. Package consists of a day non-resident fishing license and a freshwater fishing stamp, valid for the number of days purchased. Any purchaser who has previously purchased this package within the license year may repurchase this package at $12 for the first day plus $8 for each additional consecutive day. The privileges of the stamp shall be extended to the holder for the term of the subsequent purchase of this package.

(18) non-resident saltwater fishing "day plus" package--$22 for the first day plus $8 for each additional consecutive day. Package consists of a day non-resident fishing license and a saltwater sportfishing stamp with a red drum tag, valid for the number of days purchased. Any purchaser who has previously purchased this package within the license year may repurchase this package at $12 for the first day plus $8 for each additional consecutive day. The privileges of the stamp shall be extended to the holder for the term of the subsequent purchase of this package.

(19) non-resident all water fishing "day plus" package--$27 for the first day plus $8 for each additional consecutive day. Package consists of a day non-resident fishing license, a freshwater fishing stamp, and a saltwater sportfishing stamp with a red drum tag, valid for the number of days purchased. Any purchaser who has previously purchased this package within the license year may repurchase this package at $12 for the first day plus $8 for each additional consecutive day. The privileges of the stamp shall be extended to the holder for the term of the subsequent purchase of this package.

(20) Lake Texoma fishing license--$12. Holders of a valid Lake Texoma License are exempt from freshwater fishing stamp requirements solely for the purpose of fishing on Lake Texoma; and

(21) Replacement fishing package or license--$10.

(d) Fishing tags:

(1) exempt angler red drum tag--$3. Provides a red drum tag for persons that are exempt from the purchase of a resident or non-resident fishing license of any type or duration;

(2) bonus red drum tag--$0. Available only to anglers presenting a fully executed original or duplicate red drum tag, a valid fishing package or license and the required information;

(3) tarpon tag--$120;

(4) replacement tarpon tag--$30;

(5) individual bait-shrimp trawl tag--$35; and

(6) saltwater trotline tag--$4.

This agency hereby certifies that the proposal has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be within the agency's authority to adopt.

Issued in Austin, Texas, on July 12, 2004


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