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The Florida Senate

2004 Florida Statutes

Section 370.0603, Florida Statutes 2004

370.0603  Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund; purposes.--

(1)  The Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund within the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission shall serve as a broad-based depository for funds from various marine-related and boating-related activities and shall be administered by the commission for the purposes of:

(a)  Funding for marine research.

(b)  Funding for fishery enhancement, including, but not limited to, fishery statistics development, artificial reefs, and fish hatcheries.

(c)  Funding for marine law enforcement.

(d)  Funding for administration of licensing programs for recreational fishing, saltwater products sales, and related information and education activities.

(e)  Funding for the operations of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

(f)  Funding for titling and registration of vessels.

(g)  Funding for marine turtle protection, research, and recovery activities from revenues that are specifically credited to the trust fund for these purposes.

(h)  Funding activities for rehabilitation of oyster harvesting areas from which special oyster surcharge fees are collected, including relaying and transplanting live oysters.

(i)  Funding for boating research, boating-related programs and activities, and for law enforcement on state waters.

(2)  The Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund shall receive the proceeds from:

(a)  All license fees collected pursuant to ss. 370.06 and 370.07

(b)  All funds collected from the registration of vessels and other fees pursuant to s. 328.72

(c)  All fees collected pursuant to ss. 370.063, 370.142, and 372.5704

(d)  All fines and penalties pursuant to s. 370.021

(e)  Other revenues as provided by law.

(3)  Funds provided to the Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund from taxes distributed under s. 201.15(11) shall be used for the following purposes:

(a)  To reimburse the cost of activities authorized pursuant to the Fish and Wildlife Service of the United States Department of the Interior. Such facilities must be involved in the actual rescue and full-time acute care veterinarian-based rehabilitation of manatees. The cost of activities includes, but is not limited to, costs associated with expansion, capital outlay, repair, maintenance, and operation related to the rescue, treatment, stabilization, maintenance, release, and monitoring of manatees. Moneys distributed through the contractual agreement to each facility for manatee rehabilitation must be proportionate to the number of manatees under acute care rehabilitation; the number of maintenance days medically necessary in the facility; and the number released during the previous fiscal year. The commission may set a cap on the total amount reimbursed per manatee per year.

(b)  For training on the care, treatment, and rehabilitation of marine mammals at the Whitney Laboratory and the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida.

(c)  For program administration costs of the agency.

(d)  Funds not distributed in any 1 fiscal year must be carried over for distribution in subsequent years.

(4)  Funds transferred to the Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund from the Fuel Tax Collection Trust Fund pursuant to s. 206.606 shall be used for the following purposes:

(a)  To provide additional water-related law enforcement positions within the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission primarily for the purpose of enforcing laws designed to protect manatee populations. Law enforcement positions funded under this provision shall be assigned to counties having the highest incidence of manatee deaths and injuries.

(b)  For the placement of uniform waterway markers on state waters.

(c)  To provide funding for construction and maintenance of publicly owned boat ramps, piers, and docks, directly and through grants to counties and municipalities.

(d)  To implement and administer programs related to boating safety and education, manatee technical avoidance technology, and economic development initiatives to promote boating in the state, including competitive grants programs as provided in s. 327.47

(e)  For other activities of the Boating and Waterways Section such as coordinating the submission of state comments on boating-related events.

Funds not used in one fiscal year must be carried over for use in subsequent years.

History.--s. 24, ch. 96-321; s. 59, ch. 99-245; s. 34, ch. 99-289; s. 35, ch. 2000-197; s. 2, ch. 2001-62; s. 51, ch. 2002-1; s. 4, ch. 2002-46; s. 4, ch. 2003-156; s. 3, ch. 2004-264.