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Relating to cultivated oyster mariculture; authorizing fees; creating a criminal offense.
According to the Legislative Budget Board, The bill would have an indeterminate, but positive, fiscal impact to the state because the amount of licensing applications and associated revenues for the new cultivated oyster mariculture program and the number of convictions and penalty amounts increasing court cost revenues from new criminal penalties cannot be determined.
HB 1300 would create a program under the Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) for cultivation of oyster farms. The bill defines “cultivated oyster mariculture” for the clarification of what the program would include. HB 1300 would require the oversight of this program to be coordinated with the following state agencies: Department of State Health Services (DSHS), the Department of Agriculture, the General Land Office (GLO), and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).
This bill would also create a permit for the cultivation of certain oysters. Violations under this program would include bartering or selling oysters without a permit. The penalty for this offense would include a Class C Misdemeanor, and in the event of any additional violations, the penalty would be upgraded to a Class B Misdemeanor. HB 1300 also prohibits a person from placing any oyster mariculture equipment on public land without an approved lease.
Furthermore, 20% of the fees collected by TPWD under this program would be used for the cleanup of illegal or abandoned oyster equipment or related waste.
At its core this bill opens the door to a new industry in Texas (oyster farming) and provides the regulatory framework within which the industry will operate.
Texas Action supports this bill because it would open the door to a new industry that is currently prohibited in Texas. While we do not endorse all of the regulatory framework that comes along with it, this new industry will allow people build and grow a new sector in the Texas economy. For these reasons we support HB 1300.