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      RS 56:640.3     


§640.3.  Right to fish; legislation; scientific data

A.  The legislature recognizes that under the public trust doctrine the marine fishery resources, among other natural resources, are managed by the state in trust for the benefit of all its citizens.

B.  The legislature also recognizes that all citizens of the state have a right to fish in and otherwise enjoy marine waters as long as they are in compliance with current licensing requirements.  Furthermore, conservation and management decisions shall be fair and equitable to all the people of the state and implemented in such a manner that no individual, corporation, or other entity acquires an excessive share of such rights and privileges.  The right to fish does not convey any property right or ownership in the fishery resource, but rather recognizes continued public access to fishing opportunities in marine waters.

C.  The legislature further recognizes that the state's marine fishery resources require proper management in order to be sustained biologically and to continually produce a maximum yield of social and economic benefits.  To this end, restrictions on legal fishing methods to harvest finfish, shrimp, oysters, crabs, and other marine fish species may become necessary.

D.  The department shall recommend the elimination or restriction of any fishing gear currently in use or which may be used in recreational or commercial fisheries in implementing its management responsibilities or in response to any emergency situation.  While elimination or restriction may have uneven impacts on different groups of fishermen, the proposed measures should be applicable to all people of the state.  In addition to acquiring the best available biological data, the department shall use all practicable means to collect all relevant social and economic data in support of such allocation decisionmaking efforts.

Acts 1986, No. 988, §1; Acts 1995, No. 1316, §2.

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