(a) Aquaculture is a form of agriculture and thus the Department of Agriculture is designated as the lead state agency in matters pertaining to aquaculture.
(b) The department shall have the following powers and duties:
(1) To provide aquaculturalists with information and assistance in obtaining permits related to aquacultural activities;
(2) To promote investment in aquaculture facilities in order to expand production and processing capacity;
(3) To work with appropriate state and federal agencies to review, develop and implement rules, policies and procedures to facilitate aquacultural development;
(4) To facilitate the formation of an Aquaculture Advisory Board consistent with the provisions of section five of this article;
(5) To coordinate the development and implementation of a state aquaculture plan which shall include prioritized recommendations for research and development as suggested by the Aquaculture Advisory Board, the department, public and private research institutions and the West Virginia University Extension Service;
(6) To develop memoranda of agreement, as needed, with the Department of Environmental Protection, the Division of Natural Resources, the Department of Agriculture and other groups as provided in the state aquaculture plan; and
(7) To develop and propose to the Legislature, if necessary, legislation required to implement the state aquaculture plan and to otherwise encourage the development of aquaculture in the state.