113-175.1. North Carolina Marine Resources Fund.

(a) There is hereby established the North Carolina Marine Resources Fund as a nonreverting special revenue fund in the office of the State Treasurer. The purpose of the Marine Resources Fund is to enhance the marine resources of the State. The principal of the Marine Resources Fund shall consist of:

(1) Marine resources license revenues.

(2) Proceeds of any gifts, grants, and contributions to the State that are specifically designated for inclusion in the Marine Resources Fund.

(3) Funds realized from the sale, lease, rental, or other grant of rights to real or personal property acquired or produced from funds disbursed from the Marine Resources Fund.

(4) Federal aid project reimbursements to the extent that funds disbursed from the Marine Resources Fund originally funded the project for which the reimbursement is made.

(b) The State Treasurer shall hold the Marine Resources Fund separate and apart from all other moneys, funds, and accounts. The State Treasurer shall invest the assets of the Marine Resources Fund in accordance with the provisions of G.S. 147-69.2 and G.S. 147-69.3, and all marine resources investment income shall be deposited to the credit of the Marine Resources Fund. The State Treasurer shall disburse the principal of the Marine Resources Fund and marine resources investment income only upon the written direction of the Division of Marine Fisheries of the Department of Environmental Quality.

(c) The Division of Marine Fisheries of the Department of Environmental Quality may authorize the disbursement of the principal of the Marine Resources Fund and marine resources investment income only to manage, protect, restore, develop, cultivate, conserve, and enhance the marine resources of the State. The Division of Marine Fisheries may not authorize the disbursement of the principal of the Marine Resources Fund and marine resources investment income to establish positions without specific authorization from the General Assembly. Prior to authorizing disbursements from the Marine Resources Fund, the Division of Marine Fisheries shall consult with the Wildlife Resources Commission about these proposals. Expenditure of the assets of the Marine Resources Fund shall be made through the State budget accounts of the Division of Marine Fisheries in accordance with the provisions of the Executive Budget Act. The Marine Resources Fund is subject to the oversight of the State Auditor pursuant to Article 5A of Chapter 147 of the General Statutes.

(d) To enhance fishing opportunities, the Marine Resources Fund may be used to construct artificial reefs in the estuarine and ocean waters of the State and federal waters up to 20 nautical miles from land. (2004-187, s. 1; 2005-455, s. 2.3; 2011-145, s. 13.18; 2013-360, s. 14.9(a), (b); 2017-57, ss. 13.15(c), 13.16.)