87-4-601. Sale of fish or spawn. (1) Until June 30, 2028, a person issued a paddlefish tag under 87-2-306 who legally takes a paddlefish from the Yellowstone River between the railroad bridge at Glendive to the North Dakota state line during an authorized paddlefish season may donate the paddlefish roe, or eggs, to a Montana nonprofit corporation as specified in subsection (2) for processing and marketing as caviar. A paddlefish may be brought only to the Intake fishing access site for donation to the paddlefish roe donation program and must be a properly tagged, whole paddlefish. Roe separated from the paddlefish is not acceptable for donation to the program. A paddlefish intentionally cut in any manner to identify its sex is also unacceptable for donation to the program.
(2) The department shall develop rules for selecting one Montana nonprofit organization to accept paddlefish egg donations and process and market the eggs as caviar. The department shall also develop rules for the marketing and sale of caviar under this section.
(3) The department may enter into an agreement with the organization selected pursuant to the rules provided for in subsection (2) specifying times, sites, and other conditions under which paddlefish eggs may be collected. The agreement must require the organization to maintain records of revenue collected and related expenses incurred and to make the records available to the department and the legislative auditor upon request.
(4) (a) Thirty percent of the proceeds from the sale of paddlefish egg caviar products in excess of the costs of collection, processing, and marketing must be deposited in a state special revenue fund established for the department. The fund and any interest earned on the fund must be used to benefit the paddlefish fishery, including fishing access, administration, improvements, habitat, and fisheries management, or to provide information to the public regarding fishing in eastern Montana, which could include the design and construction of interpretive displays.
(b) Seventy percent of the proceeds from the sale of paddlefish egg caviar products in excess of the costs of collection, processing, and marketing must be paid to the nonprofit organization that processes and markets the caviar. The nonprofit organization's administrative costs must be paid from its share of the proceeds. A paddlefish grant advisory committee must be appointed by the commission and consist of one member from the organization selected pursuant to the rules provided for in subsection (2), two area local government representatives, and two representatives of area anglers. The committee shall solicit and review historical, cultural, recreational, and fish and wildlife proposals and fund projects. The committee shall notify the commission of its actions. Proceeds may be used as seed money for grants.