Assemblyman Thiele Introduces Legislation Eliminating Domicile Requirement for Inheritance of Fishing Permits and Licenses

Legislation would repeal law that prevented inheritance in the Stiansen Case; Retroactive provision would permit Stiansen transfer to be honored

New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (I, D, WF-Sag Harbor) has introduced legislation which would eliminate the law that only permits a fisherman to designate a family member who lives in the same house for the re-issuance of fishing licenses and permits in case of death. Ironically, under the same law, if a family member in the same house is designated, but doesn’t wish to fish, that person can then designate anyone to be eligible to take the licenses and permits.

Clearly this law leads to unfair and undesirable results.

Thiele stated, “The only way to describe this law is senseless. It needs to be changed. The case of Stian Stiansen clearly illustrates the foolishness of this law.”

In May of this year, Stian Stiansen died after his boat was capsized by a rogue wave. Stian had filed out all the proper paperwork to have his fishing licenses and permits transferred to his nephew, Norman Stiansen, also a commercial fisherman. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) ruled that under State law, the licenses and permits could not be re-issued because Norman did not live in the same house as Stian. However, if Stian had designated a family member in his house who then didn’t want to fish, they could transfer that right to anyone.

Under Thiele’s bill, a fisherman will be able to designate a member of the family for the re-issuance of permits and licenses in case of death regardless of domicile.

The legislation also includes a retroactive clause that would permit Norman Stiansen and any other similarly situated fisherman, where the original permit or license holder died after January 1, 2013 and designated a family member, to be re-issued the licenses and permits.

The bill will be considered during the 2014 Session which begins in January.