(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to fish or take fish from any fish farm except with the consent of the owner thereof. Any person possessing fishing tackle on the premises of a fish farm shall be rebuttably presumed to be fishing.
(b) Any motor vehicle, or fishing tackle, or other fishing equipment which has been or is used for illegal fishing shall be contraband, and, in the discretion of the circuit court may be forfeited to the county wherein the violation occurred, as provided by law. A commercial fish pond shall be posted with signs which are readable from the public right-of-way.
(c) The sheriff or any other person authorized to enforce the game and fish laws of this state who apprehends any person violating the provisions of this section, or who finds any vehicle which is being or has been used in illegal fishing shall seize the vehicle and any fishing tackle and other fishing equipment found in the possession of or on the person of the person, or in or on the vehicle, and shall report the seizure and the facts connected therewith to the district attorney or other prosecuting official in the judicial circuit. The report shall contain a full description of the vehicle or other equipment seized and detained, the name of the person in whose possession it was found, the name of the person making claim to the same, or any interest therein, if the name is known or can be ascertained, the date of the seizure, and a statement of the circumstances surrounding the seizing of the property.
(d) The district attorney or other prosecuting officer of the judicial circuit upon receiving the report may at once institute, or cause to be instituted, condemnation proceedings in the circuit court, in the same manner that he or she is directed by law to institute proceedings for the condemnation and forfeiture of automobiles and other vehicles used in the illegal transportation of alcoholic beverages. Except as herein otherwise provided, the procedures for the condemnation, forfeiture, and sale of motor vehicles and fishing equipment under this section used in the illegal fishing shall be governed in all things by and shall conform to the law relative to proceedings for the condemnation, forfeiture, and sale of vehicles used in the illegal transportation of alcoholic beverages. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing sentence, the provisions of Sections 28-4-286 and 28-4-287 shall apply to and govern all such proceedings.
(e) The proceeds of the sale of any property condemned and forfeited to any county under authority of this section, after payment of all expenses in the cause, including the cost of seizure and a keeping of the property pending the proceedings, shall be paid into the State Treasury to the credit of the county in which the violation occurred.
(f) Any lienholder with a perfected security interest recorded in accordance with the Uniform Commercial Code may recover the vehicle in kind or may recover the balance remaining after deduction of any costs of recovery and sale.
(g) Except as provided in subsection (i), any person violating this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not less than five hundred dollars ($500) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) and, at the discretion of the court, by imprisonment in the county jail for a period not to exceed one year, or both fine and imprisonment, and for subsequent offenses, fined not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than two thousand dollars ($2,000) and a mandatory jail sentence for not less than 30 days nor more than one year.
(h) It shall be unlawful for any person to fish from any public road or public road right-of-way at any location along the road or right-of-way within 100 yards of any commercial fish pond.
This section shall not apply to free flowing streams, ponds, or other independent bodies of water which are separate and apart from a commercial fish pond and do not receive fish due to overflows of a commercial fish pond.
(i) Any person who violates subsection (h) shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not less than five hundred dollars ($500) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) and, at the discretion of the court, by imprisonment in the county jail for a period not to exceed 48 hours, or both fine and imprisonment, and for subsequent offenses, fined not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than two thousand dollars ($2,000) and a mandatory jail sentence of not less than 30 days nor more than one year. No confiscation of nor condemnation of property shall be initiated for violation of subsection (h).
Last modified: May 3, 2021