Last-minute bills change AIS sticker law
Minnesota recently made two significant changes that will impact anglers in the near future.
The first, a law that was changed, may create some hurdles for certain anglers.
According to a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources press release, "A program requiring watercraft owners to place an AIS rules sticker on their boats is being discontinued and replaced with an online education program. Watercraft owners will no longer be required to place on their boats the rectangular, silver and black decals, which include a summary of the state's AIS laws."
"The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) began distributing the decals earlier this year and will continue to give them to interested boat owners for informational purposes only."
"A new law, which goes into effect 2015, will require anyone who transports watercraft or water-related equipment with a trailer to complete an online education course. After completing the course, the person will receive a decal that must be placed on their trailer, certifying they have taken the course. People taking the course can receive extra stickers if they own or use multiple trailers for watercraft or water-related equipment."
"The DNR will begin developing the online AIS course soon to implement the new decal requirement for 2015. The penalty for not displaying the decal will be a warning, not a citation."
Hopefully the DNR will have another option for taking the course since anglers who aren't tech savvy could struggle to access and complete the training.
Additionally, beginning July 1, 2012, "civil penalties for violating the state's AIS laws will double. Fines that currently range from $50 to $250 will increase to $100 to $500, depending on the type of violation. For example, failure to remove a drain plug while transporting a watercraft will mean a $100 fine, instead of a $50 penalty. The fine for unlawfully possessing and transporting prohibited aquatic invasive species will increase from $250 to $500."
"Boat lifts, docks, swim rafts and other water-related equipment (except boats and other watercraft) that are removed from any water body may not be placed in another water body for at least 21 days. The drying out period is designed to kill any AIS that might be attached to the equipment that are high risk and difficult to clean."
"The DNR was given additional authority to require mandatory inspections of water-related equipment before a person places or removes equipment into or out of a water body and to set up inspection stations at a centralized location to cover multiple lakes. The new legislation also allows the DNR to delegate this authority to local governments that have an approved inspection plan."
Additionally, Gov. Mark Dayton signed a House- and Senate-approved bill that, among other things, raises the cost of an annual resident fishing license from $17 to $22 and a resident deer hunting license from $26 to $30. Most resident youth hunting and fishing licenses will be $5 or free. The fee changes, the first in 12 years, will go into effect next March.