(A) The chief of the division of wildlife, with the approval of the wildlife council, may limit the type and number of commercial fishing licenses to be issued for fishing in the Lake Erie fishing district and other water wherein nets are licensed by law, except that such limitations shall not prohibit any person who was issued an Ohio commercial fishing license in the prior fishing season from being issued, upon satisfaction of the qualifications established in division (C) of this section and proper application, a license of the same type for the current fishing season unless the issuance of such a license is prohibited by this chapter or Chapter 1531. of the Revised Code or division rule.
In limiting the number and type of licenses, the chief and the council shall give consideration to the number and type of licenses needed to harvest the fish determined to be harvestable; the capacity of the boats and characteristics of the equipment owned or used by the applicant; and any other facts or data relating to the protection, preservation, management, and utilization of fish species in a biologically sound manner.
(B) The chief, in prescribing forms for license applications, may require the applicant to list information relating to the kind and condition of boats and fishing equipment proposed to be used by the applicant, port or ports of entry, years of commercial fishing experience, quantity and kinds of fish taken during the previous five years, conviction records relating to Chapter 1531. and this chapter of the Revised Code and division rules, and any other facts the chief determines necessary to assist the chief in determining whether or not the applicant may engage in commercial fishing in accordance with those chapters and division rules. All questions shall be answered fully and completely by the applicant. The application shall be sworn to and signed by the applicant before a person authorized to administer oaths.
(C) Any person, prior to making application for an Ohio commercial fishing license, first shall satisfy the following qualifications to the satisfaction of the chief: over eighteen years of age; no prior conviction of or plea of guilty on or after the effective date of this amendment to a felony concerning commercial fishing activities for a violation of state or federal law; ninety days Ohio residency immediately preceding application; two years commercial fishing gear experience or holder of an Ohio commercial license of another gear; and posting of a one thousand dollar performance bond or cash deposit in a like amount. In the event the person does not meet these pre-application qualifications or does meet those qualifications, but a license is not granted, the bond or cash deposit immediately shall be returned by the division. In the event the person is granted a license, the bond or cash deposit shall be held by the division during the term of the license.
(D) In determining the terms and conditions of any commercial fishing license, the chief, with the approval of the wildlife council, may do both of the following:
(1) Fix by species, the weight, number, or size of fish to be taken;
(2) Specify the home port and up to two alternate ports at which the licensee shall land the licensee's catch, as listed on the licensee's application.
(E) Any wildlife officer, or other division employee designated by the chief to inspect commercial fishing operations, may enter upon any property used, owned, or leased by the holder of a commercial fishing license and may inspect any boat, net, seine, or other equipment used in commercial fishing; any building or premises used to hold, store, repair, or build commercial fishing gear or equipment; and any building or premises used in boxing, storing, or processing fish. No person shall assault, threaten, abuse, or interfere with any wildlife officer or designated inspector when carrying out an inspection under authority of this section, nor shall any person prohibit such an inspection.
(F) No person shall fail to comply with this section or a division rule adopted pursuant thereto.
(G) No person having been issued a commercial fishing license shall fail to comply with all terms, specifications, and conditions set forth in the license.
(1) In addition to other penalties provided in the Revised Code, the license of any person who is convicted of assaulting, threatening, abusing, or interfering with any person inspecting by authority of this section is suspended upon such conviction by operation of law for a period of eighteen fishing season months immediately following that conviction.
(2) In addition to other penalties provided in the Revised Code, the license of any person who is convicted of two violations of provisions of this section relating to inspection or terms and conditions of any commercial fishing license that occurred within a twelve-month period is suspended upon the second such conviction by operation of law for a period of sixty fishing season days immediately following that conviction.
(3) In addition to other penalties provided in the Revised Code, the license of any person who is convicted of three or more violations of provisions of this section relating to inspection or terms and conditions of any commercial fishing licenses that occurred within a twelve-month period is suspended upon the third or subsequent such conviction by operation of law for a period of eighteen fishing season months immediately following that conviction.
(I) During any period of suspension, no person shall use or engage in fishing with commercial gear owned, used, or controlled at the time of conviction by the licensee whose license has been suspended.
Effective Date: 10-20-1994; 2007 SB77 10-10-2007 .