New DEC rules establish St. Lawrence-Lake Ontario corridor and others for moving bait for personal use
The Department of Environmental Conservation wants to change the rules on baitfish to allow overland transport of personally collected baitfish within specific corridors, as long as the baitfish are used in the same waters where they were collected.
The three transportation corridors include along the Lower Niagara River-Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River; Lake Erie-Upper Niagara River; and the Hudson River from Troy to the Tappan Zee Bridge.The designated waters include their tributaries upstream to the first impassable barrier to fish.
Baitfish caught for personal use in one of those corridors may be transported over land for use elsewhere in the same corridor, but not outside it.
DEC says that only baitfish that have been certified as disease-free may be transported in motorized vehicles outside of the transportation corridors specified.
Details of the transportation corridors are contained in the proposed regulations and may be viewed on DEC's website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/73305.html.
"We are responding to concerns that regulations adopted in 2007 to protect New York's world class fish stocks were overly restrictive," Commissioner Joe Martens said. "While we are pleased to relax the current ban within defined corridors along specific waterbodies, we are counting on full support of anglers for the Department's efforts to limit the spread of fish disease organisms throughout the state."
New York began tightening up baitfish transport regulations shortly after viral hemorrhagic septicemia was first confirmed in New York waters in May 2006 in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, and there were fears of the disease spreading to other waters through baitfish caught there and moved elsewhere.
The new rules are not yet officially adopted, and citizens can still comment on them by e-mail to [email protected] or mailed to Shaun Keeler, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Bureau of Fisheries, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4753.