DEC announces changes to Big Head Carp regulations

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced that changes pertaining to the regulations governing the import, transport, possession and sale of bighead carp are now in effect. The amended regulations ban the importation, possession and sale of live bighead carp in all of New York State. As an invasive species, bighead carp are a serious threat to the state’s aquatic communities and much effort is being expended by federal and Great Lakes state agencies to prevent these fish from gaining access to the Great Lakes basin via the Mississippi River system. Previously, New York’s regulations prohibited the possession and sale of fish species that DEC had determined to be a present danger to indigenous fish populations, including snakehead fish and three species of Asian Carp (including bighead carp). However, until now, the prohibitions included an exception that allowed bighead carp to be sold, possessed, transported, imported and exported in the five boroughs of the City of New York (Manhattan, Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island) and the Westchester County towns of Rye, Harrison, and Mamaronek and all the incorporated cities or villages located therein. As a result of federal action, all interstate transportation of live bighead carp was banned, so the exceptions in DEC’s regulations that provided for limited sale of bighead carp for human consumption, required repeal. The amended regulations eliminate any possible confusion regarding the legal status of this species in New York, and will bolster efforts to prevent the spread of bighead carp into the Great Lakes states.

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