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HOUSE BILL NO. 387
INTRODUCED BY R. JORE
AN ACT ALLOWING A PERSON WHO OWNS OR LAWFULLY CONTROLS AN ARTIFICIAL LAKE OR POND OR A PRIVATE FISH POND TO QUALIFY FOR A FISH POND LICENSE IF THE LICENSE CONDITIONS ARE MET; REVISING THE DEFINITION OF "ARTIFICIAL LAKE OR POND" TO INCLUDE A PRIVATE FISH POND; AMENDING SECTION 87-4-603, MCA; AND PROVIDING AN IMMEDIATE EFFECTIVE DATE.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
Section 1. Section 87-4-603, MCA, is amended to read:
"87-4-603. Fish pond license for artificial lake or pond -- records. (1) A person who owns or lawfully controls an artificial lake or pond or a private fish pond may apply to the director for a fish pond license. The holder of a private fish pond license may stock the fish pond with fish procured from a lawful source. The department may designate the species of fish that may be released in the pond and otherwise condition the license if there is a possibility of fish escaping from the pond into adjacent streams or lakes. The license holder may take fish from the lake or pond in any manner. Before a license holder may sell fish or eggs or fry from the lake or pond, the license holder shall furnish a corporate surety bond to the state for $500, conditioned to the effect that the license holder will not sell fish or spawn from any of the public waters of this state or violate the conditions of the license and also conditioned to the effect that the license holder will submit an annual report on transactions to the director.
(2) (a) "Artificial lake or pond" or "private fish pond", as used in this section,
does not include a natural pond or body of
water, including streams and rivers, created by natural means or any portion of the streambed or lakebed of a natural pond
or body of water. It includes only bodies of water created by artificial means or diversion of water that do not exceed 500
acres of surface area. means a body of water that is:
(i) created by artificial means or by a diversion of water that does not exceed 500 acres in surface area; or
(ii) an instream pond that does not exceed 500 acres with a tributary spring or stream that does not support game fish or fish species of special concern; and
(iii) not determined by the department to pose an unacceptable risk to game fish or fish species of special concern in adjacent waters.
(b) The term does not include all other natural ponds or bodies of water, including streams or rivers and impoundments or reservoirs of or on a natural stream, river, lake, or pond.
(3) An applicant for licensing of an instream private fish pond shall present to the department verification that game fish or fish species of special concern do not occur in the tributary, spring, or stream and that the instream private fish pond does not pose an unacceptable risk to game fish or fish species of special concern in adjacent waters. Verification must be in the form of:
(a) a formal report from a department-approved professional fisheries consultant; or
(b) other reliable data and documentation.
(3)(4) The department may condition the license to require the construction, implementation, and maintenance of
measures or devices to prevent fish in an artificial lake or pond from escaping into adjacent waters. (4)(5) (a) A licensee who sells fish or eggs shall keep accurate records of:
(i) the species and quantities of fish or eggs sold or purchased;
(ii) dates of sales or purchases;
(iii) names of purchasers or sellers; and
(iv) locations to or from which fish or eggs are transferred.
(b) On or before January 31 of each year, a licensee who sells fish or eggs shall file a report with the department, on forms made available by the department, summarizing the records required under subsection (4)(a).
(5)(6) A person who owns or controls an artificial lake or pond may request an inspection by the department to ascertain
the presence of disease in fish or the illegal introduction of fish species. Whenever the department has reasonable cause to
believe that a fish species in the body of water may have been illegally introduced or may have a disease that may affect fish
in another body of water, the department shall notify the landowner or landowner's agent by mail or in person of the
intention to enter upon the land and shall enter only after notice has been given to the landowner or agent or after every
reasonable effort has been made to notify the landowner and receive permission to enter upon the land. Thereafter, the
department may enter upon land under the provisions of this subsection for the purposes of inspecting the pond or the body
of water, the species of fish in the pond or the body of water, the presence of disease in a fish species, the construction of
any impoundment, dam, or fish barrier, and the physical connection of an artificial lake or pond to an adjacent natural lake,
pond, or body of water, including a stream or river. The department is responsible for actual damages to any property. (6)(7) If the department finds an illegal introduction of fish or the presence of disease in fish in a licensed fish pond, an
artificial lake or pond, or a natural lake, pond, or body of water, the department shall consult with the landowner or the
landowner's agent to determine the appropriate action unless an emergency exists. In an emergency situation, the department
may order or take appropriate action to address any threat to the state's fisheries resources, including quarantine or
destruction of fish, eggs, or the source of a disease. Whenever privately owned fish are destroyed and the private owner is
not responsible for an illegal introduction or the introduction of fish with a disease, the department may replace the
destroyed fish without charge to the private owner. A landowner or agent who has granted permission for the department to
enter is not considered responsible for an illegal introduction of fish or disease unless proven proved otherwise."
Section 2. Effective date. [This act] is effective on passage and approval.
- END -
Latest Version of HB 387 (HB0387.ENR)
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