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The Florida Statutes

The 2021 Florida Statutes

Chapter 379
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F.S. 379.226
379.226 Florida Territorial Waters Act; alien-owned commercial fishing vessels; prohibited acts; enforcement.
(1) This act may be known and cited as the “Florida Territorial Waters Act.”
(2) It is the purpose of this act to exercise and exert full sovereignty and control of the territorial waters of the state.
(3) No license shall be issued by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission under s. 379.361, to any vessel owned in whole or in part by any alien power, which subscribes to the doctrine of international communism, or any subject or national thereof, who subscribes to the doctrine of international communism, or any individual who subscribes to the doctrine of international communism, or who shall have signed a treaty of trade, friendship and alliance or a nonaggression pact with any communist power. The commission shall grant or withhold said licenses where other alien vessels are involved on the basis of reciprocity and retorsion, unless the nation concerned shall be designated as a friendly ally or neutral by a formal suggestion transmitted to the Governor of Florida by the Secretary of State of the United States. Upon the receipt of such suggestion licenses shall be granted under s. 379.361, without regard to reciprocity and retorsion, to vessels of such nations.
(4) It is unlawful for any unlicensed alien vessel to take by any means whatsoever, attempt to take, or having so taken to possess, any natural resource of the state’s territorial waters, as such waters are described by Art. II of the State Constitution.
(5) It is the duty of all harbormasters of the state to prevent the use of any port facility in a manner which they reasonably suspect may assist in the violation of this act. Harbormasters shall endeavor by all reasonable means, which may include the inspection of nautical logs, to ascertain from masters of newly arrived vessels of all types other than warships of the United States, the presence of alien commercial fishing vessels within the territorial waters of the state, and shall transmit such information promptly to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and such law enforcement agencies of the state as the situation may indicate. Harbormasters shall request assistance from the United States Coast Guard in appropriate cases to prevent unauthorized departure from any port facility.
(6) All licensed harbor pilots are required to promptly transmit any knowledge coming to their attention regarding possible violations of this act to the harbormaster of the port or the appropriate law enforcement officials.
(7) All law enforcement agencies of the state, including but not limited to sheriffs and officers of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, are empowered and directed to arrest the masters and crews of vessels who are reasonably believed to be in violation of this law, and to seize and detain such vessels, their equipment and catch. Such arresting officers shall take the offending crews or property before the court having jurisdiction of such offenses. All such agencies are directed to request assistance from the United States Coast Guard in the enforcement of this act when having knowledge of vessels operating in violation or probable violation of this act within their jurisdictions when such agencies are without means to effectuate arrest and restraint of vessels and their crews.
(8) The fine or imprisonment of persons and confiscation proceedings against vessels, gear and catch prescribed for violations of this chapter, shall be imposed for violation of this act; provided that nothing herein shall authorize the repurchase of property for a nominal sum by the owner upon proof of lack of complicity in the violation or undertaking.
(9) No crew member or master seeking bona fide political asylum shall be fined or imprisoned hereunder.
(10) Harbormasters and law enforcement agencies are authorized to request assistance from the Civil Air Patrol in the surveillance of suspect vessels. Aircraft of the Florida Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services or other state or county agencies which are conveniently located and not otherwise occupied may be similarly utilized. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, ch. 63-202; ss. 14, 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 240, ch. 94-356; s. 255, ch. 99-245; s. 43, ch. 2008-247; s. 19, ch. 2012-7.
Note.Former s. 370.21.