|10:30 AM||Issue Briefings|
|Room 1:||Government’s Challenge: Keeping Fishing Accessible and Affordable|
Cost, time, mentors, and places to fish are typically the most important factors affecting participation. The complexity of regulations decreases the incentive to go fishing. I will explore the details of these issues along with efforts the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is undertaking to mitigate some of these hurdles. Finally, I will identify additional measures that could help encourage Californians to go fish.
Sonke Mastrup, Environmental Program Manager, Marine Region, California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
|Room 2:||Mandatory Boater Education Implementation Update|
In September 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 941, which prohibits the operation of a motorized vessel on California waterways unless the operator is in possession of his/her valid Boater Card developed and issued by the Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW). The Boater Card will show that its holder has successfully taken and passed a NASBLA & state-approved boater safety examination. Beginning January 1, 2018, all boaters 20 years of age and younger are required to carry his/her card while operating on state waterways. Each year after 2018, a new age group will be added to those who are required to possess a valid card. By 2025, all persons who operate a motorized vessel on California waters will be required to have one. DBW will be “grandfathering” boaters who have passed an approved boating safety examination between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2017. Boaters will have 1 year from the January 1, 2018 implementation date to receive the “grandfathering” exemption regardless of their age. For a list of persons not required to have a Boater Card, please visit www.CaliforniaBoaterCard.com.
Program Analyst, Enforcement Unit, Division of Boating and Waterways
|Room 3:||Shakedown Litigation|
The Clean Water Act is an important law, but claimed environmental groups often abuse it by threatening costly litigation (e.g., alleged industrial stormwater violations) to extract unwarranted monetary payments. This seminar will include a high-level discussion of the Clean Water Act and responses to predatory litigation.
Navi Dhillon, Morrison & Foerster LLP
|Room 1:||Threats to Recreational Fishing|
California has one of the longest coastlines in the U.S. and thousands of lakes and rivers, and is home to over 1.6 million recreational anglers. This session will discuss government regulations that are making fishing less accessible and more costly, and threaten recreational fishing’s $4.9 billion annual contribution to California’s economy and outdoor tourism.
Marko Mlikotin, Executive Director, California Sportfishing League
|Room 2:||Abandoned Vessel Program Update|
Abandoned Watercraft and Abatement Fund (AWAF)
The AWAF is a reimbursement grant which provides funds for the abatement, removal, storage and disposal of abandoned vessels, wrecked or dismantled vessels, parts, or any other partially submerged objects that pose a substantial hazard to navigation from navigable waterways or adjacent public property, or private property with the landowner’s consent, per Harbors and Navigation Code (HNC) Section 525. Commercial vessels are not covered under this program.
Vessel Turn-In Program (VTIP)
The proactive VTIP grant was created in 2010 as a solution to prevent abandoned vessels before they happen. By providing an easy and free alternative for boat owners to surrender an unwanted vessel to a participating agency in lieu of abandonment, this program eliminates the expensive, difficult and time consuming adjudication and removal process that abandoned vessels often require. More importantly, the VTIP also works to safeguard public and boater safety by preventing the risk of harmful water hazards, and provides for the protection of the environment by preventing discharges of oils, gas, sewage and other toxic pollutants that may leak from an abandoned vessel into our waterways and fragile habitats.
Surrendered Abandoned Vessel Exchange (SAVE)
The SAVE program combines the Abandoned Watercraft Abatement Fund (AWAF) and the Vessel Turn-In Program (VTIP) grants into one, allowing local public agencies the convenience of only one grant to apply for and manage, and the flexibility to use the funds for both purposes as needed. Effective as of January 1, 2016, only the SAVE will be available to public agencies interested in receiving an AWAF and/or VTIP Grant. The SAVE is a competitive grant. Agencies are required to participate in both services under the SAVE.
Corrina Dugger, Manager, Enforcement Unit, Division of Boating and Waterways
|Room 3:||Economic Impact of Vessel Taxation|
Recreational boating in the State of California is by varied accounts, a $9 - 12 Billion a year economic impact to the state coffers. Prospective, as well as existing boaters, have a myriad of choices as to where they spend their recreational dollars. High sales and use tax rates, inconsistent and often capricious assessment of county personal tax assessments, threatened loss of second home mortgage deductions, and attempts to collect various taxes from cruising, non-resident vessels all severely threaten our state’s boating industry, especially as other states out-compete us to gain the coveted revenues that a fairly taxed and regulated boating environment brings to their state’s economies.
Dean A. West, Owner, Dean A. West Marine Enterprises