Health & Safety Code Section 436.103
Fee on Oyster Sales; Penalties
(a)The first certified shellfish dealer who harvests, purchases, handles, stores, packs, labels, unloads at dockside, or holds oysters taken from the water of this state shall pay the state a fee of $1 for each barrel of oysters harvested, purchased, handled, or processed by the certified shellfish dealer.
(b)For purposes of assessing the fee required by this section, three 100-pound containers of oysters is the equivalent of one barrel of oysters. A certified shellfish dealer may not purchase or pack oysters in containers that, when packed, exceed 110 pounds in weight. A dealer who violates this subsection is liable for a penalty of $5 for each container that exceeds 110 pounds.
(c)A certified shellfish dealer shall pay a fee or penalty imposed by Subsection (a) or (b) not later than the 20th day of the month following the month in which the barrel of oysters was handled. A dealer who fails to pay the fee or penalty in full within the prescribed period is liable for the amount of the fee or penalty and an additional penalty of 10 percent of the amount of the fee or penalty due. On certification by the comptroller that a fee is past due, the department may suspend, until the fee, penalty, or additional penalty is paid, the shellfish certificate of a certified shellfish dealer who fails to timely pay the fee, penalty, or additional penalty in full. The department, on certification from the comptroller that a certified shellfish dealer has refused to pay a fee, penalty, or additional penalty on written demand, may revoke the shellfish certificate of a certified shellfish dealer who refuses to pay a fee, penalty, or additional penalty.
(d)The comptroller shall collect fees and penalties under this section and may adopt rules, forms, and procedures for submission of fees and penalties under this section. Each month the comptroller shall report to the department the fees and penalties that are submitted to the comptroller.
(e)Before any other disposition of the fees and penalties collected under this section is made, two percent of the amount of the fees and penalties shall be deposited in the state treasury for appropriation for the use of the comptroller in the administration and enforcement of this section. The remainder of the fees and penalties collected under this section shall be deposited to the credit of the oyster sales account in the general revenue fund to be allocated each year for oyster-related activities, including:
(1)collecting bay water and shellfish meat samples;
(2)contracting for sample analysis for classification and opening or closing of oyster harvesting areas;
(3)marking the boundaries of areas that are designated open or closed under this subchapter;
(4)studying oyster diseases and other concerns affecting the availability of oysters for harvest;
(5)studying and analyzing organisms that may be associated with human illness and that can be transmitted through the consumption of oysters;
(6)contributing to the support of the oyster shell recovery and replacement program created under Section 76.020 (Oyster Shell Recovery and Replacement Program), Parks and Wildlife Code; and
(7)other oyster-related activities authorized or required by this chapter.
(f)After deducting the amount deposited into the state treasury for the comptroller’s use under Subsection (e), the comptroller at the beginning of each state fiscal year shall allocate $100,000 of the unencumbered balance deposited to the credit of the oyster sales account in the general revenue fund to Texas A&M University at Galveston for use in performing the activities described by Subsection (e)(5). The remainder of the money in the oyster sales account may be allocated only for the purposes described by Subsection (e).
(g)Subtitles A and B, Title 2, Tax Code, apply to the comptroller’s administration, collection, and enforcement of this section to the same extent as if the fee imposed under this section were a tax imposed under Title 2, Tax Code.
(h)In monitoring compliance with the payment of fees imposed under this section, the comptroller shall monthly or annually, as determined by the comptroller, compare records of fees collected under this section to data collected by the Parks and Wildlife Department relating to oyster barrel purchases. If the comptroller finds a discrepancy between the two sources of information, the comptroller may consult the dealer’s log required by the National Shellfish Sanitation Program to resolve the discrepancy. The comptroller may use the process described by this subsection in place of any other administrative process used by the comptroller in determining compliance with this section.
(i)A finding by the comptroller under Subsection (h) of a discrepancy that reflects an underreporting of oysters harvested, purchased, handled, or processed by a dealer constitutes prima facie evidence of a violation of this section in any administrative proceeding under this chapter.
Section 436.103 — Fee on Oyster Sales; Penalties,
https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/HS/htm/HS.436.htm#436.103 (accessed Dec. 2, 2023).