(1) As used in this section, the term: (a) “Marine aquaculture facility” means a facility built and operated for the purpose of producing marine aquaculture products. Marine aquaculture facilities contain culture systems such as, but not limited to, ponds, tanks, raceways, cages, and bags used for commercial production, propagation, growout, or product enhancement of marine products. Marine aquaculture facilities specifically do not include:
1. Facilities that maintain marine aquatic organisms exclusively for the purpose of shipping, distribution, marketing, or wholesale and retail sales;
2. Facilities that maintain marine aquatic organisms for noncommercial, education, exhibition, or scientific purposes;
3. Facilities in which the activity does not require an aquaculture certification pursuant to s. 597.004; or
4. Facilities used by marine aquarium hobbyists.
(b) “Marine aquaculture producer” means a person holding an aquaculture certificate pursuant to s. 597.004 to produce marine aquaculture products. (c) “Marine aquaculture product” means any product derived from marine aquatic organisms that are owned and propagated, grown, or produced under controlled conditions by a person holding an aquaculture certificate pursuant to s. 597.004. Such product does not include organisms harvested from the wild for depuration, wet storage, or relayed for the purpose of controlled purification. Marine aquaculture products are considered saltwater products for the purposes of this chapter, except the holder of an aquaculture certificate is not required to purchase and possess a saltwater products license in order to possess, transport, or sell marine aquaculture products pursuant to s. 379.361. To renew an existing restricted species endorsement, marine aquaculture producers possessing a valid saltwater products license with a restricted species endorsement may apply income from the sales of marine aquaculture products to licensed wholesale dealers. Income from the sales of marine aquaculture products shall not be eligible for the purpose of acquiring a new restricted species endorsement. The holder of an aquaculture certificate must purchase and possess a saltwater products license in order to possess, transport, or sell saltwater products not specifically provided for in s. 597.004. (2) The Department of Environmental Protection shall encourage the development of aquaculture and the production of aquaculture products. The department shall develop a process consistent with this section that would consolidate permits, general permits, 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 which are regulated by the department. Procedures to consolidate permitting actions under this section do not constitute rules within the meaning of s. 120.52. (3) Until aquaculture general permits under s. 403.814 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. The criteria developed pursuant to this subsection do not constitute rules within the meaning of s. 120.52. Permit application fees under this subsection shall be no more than that established for a general permit. The department may delegate to the water management districts the regulatory authority for aquaculture facilities subject to the temporary general permitting criteria of this subsection. During the period prior to development of a general permit under s. 403.814, the department shall establish a compliance plan based on monitoring results that will assist in the development of the general permit.
(4) 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.
(5) The department shall:
(a) Coordinate with the Aquaculture Review Council and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services when developing criteria for aquaculture general permits.
(b) Permit experimental technologies to collect and evaluate data necessary to reduce or mitigate environmental concerns.
(c) Provide technical expertise and promote the transfer of information that would be beneficial to the development of aquaculture.
(6) The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission 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) 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 commission’s facilities and the culture activities are consistent with the commission’s stock enhancement projects. Such stocks may be obtained by reimbursing the commission 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.
2. Conducting research programs to evaluate candidate species when funding and staff are available.
3. Encouraging the private production of marine fish and shellfish stocks for the purpose of providing such stocks for statewide stock enhancement programs. When such stocks become available, the commission shall reduce or eliminate duplicative production practices that would result in direct competition with private commercial producers.
4. Developing a working group, in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Aquaculture Review 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.
(c) Coordinating with public and private research institutions within the state to advance the aquaculture production and sale of sturgeon as a food fish.
(7) The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission 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 commission 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.