370.26 Aquaculture definitions; marine aquaculture products and producers. ---
(2) The Department of Environmental Protection shall encourage the development of aquaculture and the production of aquaculture products.
(a) The Aquaculture Section shall develop a process consistent with this section that would consolidate permits, general permits, special activity licenses, and other regulatory requirements to streamline the permitting process and result in effective regulation of aquaculture activities. This process shall provide for a single application and application fee for marine aquaculture activities regulated by the department. Procedures to consolidate permitting actions under this section do not constitute rules within the meaning of s. 120.52.
(b) The Aquaculture Section shall act as a clearinghouse for aquaculture applications submitted to the department, and act as a liaison between the Division of Marine Resources, the Department of Environmental Protection district offices, other divisions within the department, and the water management districts.
(4) The department shall make available state lands and the water column for the purpose of producing aquaculture products when the aquaculture activity is compatible with state resource management goals, environmental protection, and propriety interest and when such state lands and waters are determined to be suitable for aquaculture development by the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund pursuant to s. 253.68.
(a) The department shall act in cooperation with other state and local agencies and programs to identify and designate sovereignty lands and waters that would be suitable for aquaculture development.
(b) The department shall identify and evaluate specific tracts of sovereignty submerged lands and water columns in various areas of the state to determine where such lands and waters are suitable for leasing for aquaculture purposes. Nothing in this paragraph or paragraph (a) shall preclude the applicant from applying for sites identified by the applicant.
(5) Authorizations under part IV of chapter 373 shall be issued in conjunction with the authorization to use sovereignty submerged land for aquaculture when the aquaculture activities are authorized in the aquaculture lease agreement.
(6) Until such time that aquaculture general permits under s. 403.088 can be expanded and developed, the department shall establish criteria to temporarily permit aquaculture activities that may be presumed not to result in adverse environmental impacts. Permit application fees under this subsection shall be no more than that established for a general permit. During the period prior to development of a general permit under s. 403.088, the department shall establish a compliance plan based on monitoring results that will assist in the development of the general permit.
(7) The department shall request that the Aquaculture Review Council identify a working group of industry representatives who can provide technical assistance in developing aquaculture general permits. The industry representatives shall come from the segment of the industry to be affected by the specific general permit to be developed. The working group shall be included in all phases of developing the aquaculture general permits.
(8) The department shall coordinate with the Aquaculture Review Council, the Aquaculture Interagency Coordinating Council, and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services when developing criteria for aquaculture general permits.
(9) The department shall encourage the development of aquaculture in the state through the following:
(a) Providing assistance in developing technologies applicable to aquaculture activities, evaluating practicable production alternatives, and providing management agreements to develop innovative culture practices.
(b) Permitting experimental technologies to collect and evaluate data necessary to reduce or mitigate environmental concerns.
(c) Providing technical expertise and promoting the transfer of information that would be beneficial to the development of aquaculture.
(d) Facilitating aquaculture research on life histories, stock enhancement, and alternative species, and providing research results that would assist in the evaluation, development, and commercial production of candidate species for aquaculture, including:
1. Providing eggs, larvae, fry, and fingerlings to aquaculturists when excess cultured stocks are available from the department's facilities and the culture activities are consistent with the department's stock enhancement projects. Such stocks may be obtained by reimbursing the department for the cost of production on a per-unit basis. Revenues resulting from the sale of stocks shall be deposited into the trust fund used to support the production of such stocks.
4. Developing a working group, in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Aquaculture Review Council, and the Aquaculture Interagency Coordinating Council, to plan and facilitate the development of private marine fish and nonfish hatcheries and to encourage private/public partnerships to promote the production of marine aquaculture products.
(10) The department shall coordinate with the Aquaculture Review Council and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to establish and implement grant programs to provide funding for projects and programs that are identified in the state's aquaculture plan, pending legislative appropriations. The department and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall establish and implement a grant program to make grants available to qualified nonprofit, educational, and research entities or local governments to fund infrastructure, planning, practical and applied research, development projects, production economic analysis, and training and stock enhancement projects, and to make grants available to counties, municipalities, and other state and local entities for applied aquaculture projects that are directed to economic development, pending legislative appropriations.
(11) The department shall provide assistance to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in the development of an aquaculture plan for the state.
History: s. 14, ch. 96-247.