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Aquarium fish update

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#1 Cu455

  • NANFA Guest

Posted 28 April 2015 - 11:47 AM

Last week I sent in a stocking permit for my fish tank. The form is just a stocking permit it doesn't say anything that it is only for lakes or ponds. I figured I will fill it out and mail it in. I did not receive  the greatest news, but it was not the worst. I posted my communications with my DEC regional fisheries manager.


I think it will be great for people who live in NY and anyone else who wants to help us out to write to the DEC. Let them know that you believe that there should be an exception for possession of fish out of season as long as it is kept in an aquarium. You can put in your letter how the  keeping of native fish will reduce the chances of an non native species being released into the environment becoming invasive. You can also include the educational experience which comes from native fish keeping.


The DEC response to my stocking permit.



I am in receipt of your Fish Stocking Permit Application.


Firstly, Environmental Conservation Law section 11-0507.1 States: “Fish or fish eggs shall not be placed in any waters of the state unless a permit is first obtained from the department; but no permit shall be required to place fish or fish eggs in an aquarium.”


An indoor glass enclosure is an aquarium, so you do not need a stocking permit.


However, the department also regulates the possession of native fish species through our fishing regulations. Certain species such as bass (Micropterus spp.) and pickerel (Esox spp.) have closed seasons where their possession is prohibited. In addition the department closely regulates the sale and possession of black bass (Microperus spp.) for human consumption (private individuals are not permitted to possess or transport live black bass for consumption). Under these provisions, you cannot legally possess live black bass. So, even though you do not need a permit to stock your aquarium, you cannot legally possess fish species for which there is a closed season.


For fish species for which there is no closed season (Perca spp., Lepomis spp. and Amerius spp.), you can purchase them and stock them in your aquarium without a permit. I suggest that you keep a copy of the receipt from the hatchery to prove that you purchased them legally.


Be aware also that regardless of how you acquired the fish, they cannot be released into the wild in New York State. Once you are finished with them, they can only be transferred to another aquarium or destroyed.


I hope that you find this information helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.


I responded to the DEC with these 2 emails.


Thank you for your response I appreciate it. I just wanted to make sure I did everything the legal and right way. I just have 1 question to ask. Can I get a stocking permit for my aquarium to keep species such as pickerel (Esox spp.) during their closed season?




Sorry to bother you again I have one more question in addition to the email I just sent you. Is the possession of a fish out of season only for wild caught fish or is it also for captive breed fish?
Thank You


They responded back with this.





Here are the answers to your two questions:


Can I get a stocking permit for my aquarium to keep species such as pickerel (Esox spp.) during their closed season?

No, we do not issue permits to private individuals to keep fish out of season.


Is the possession of a fish out of season only for wild caught fish or is it also for captive breed fish?

Because we cannot tell whether a fish came from the wild or was captive bred once it is out of the hatchery, we treat them the same, a permit is needed to possess them out of season.


I suggest that you limit yourself to sunfish, perch and catfish.

Edited by Cu455, 28 April 2015 - 12:00 PM.

#2 don212

  • NANFA Member

Posted 29 April 2015 - 09:17 AM

does the permit solve the original problem of legally collecting non game fish and transporting them?

#3 Aquastudent

  • NANFA Guest
  • Albany, NY

Posted 29 April 2015 - 09:20 AM

That's quite interesting but makes sense. The "not being able to possess fish out of season" is just to reduce the 'grayness' in the law.


Bummer about the pickerals. Was hoping to start up a NANF predator tank. I doubt you'll ever get in trouble for keeping a couple in your home but it is written in the laws...

#4 Cu455

  • NANFA Guest

Posted 05 May 2015 - 08:04 AM

I have no idea about the baitfish. The funny thing with the pickerels is their season is only closed for about a month. If you get a pickerel now you can keep it until May of 2016. If you have a friend in NJ or PA you can bring it to them for a month. After a month you can put it back in your tank for 11 months. If I get a pickerel now I won't have to get rid of it. I would be finished my masters by then and moved back home.

#5 Aquastudent

  • NANFA Guest
  • Albany, NY

Posted 05 May 2015 - 12:14 PM

Haha these laws are silly sometimes.

#6 sschluet

  • Board of Directors

Posted 25 July 2015 - 06:34 AM

Cu455- just reading this for the first time. Out of curiosity, what DEC region were you interacting with? Prior to VHS and resulting baitfish laws, I was working on submitting a request for a special license for hobbyist for the DEC to consider. With VHS on the scene, this changed everything and the conservative approach was taken with the current laws. I work closely with the DEC and know the fish managers, there are many that understand the interests of non-game native fish keepers and are sympathetic to the issue. I had suggested to NY NANFANs that a letter should be drafted to the DEC to clarify all aspects of native fish keeping in NY but at the time folks were interpreting regulations to include gray areas that allowed collecting. I think we are at the point where we should strongly consider this approach again. Mike Lucas and I could set up a mtg, if there is an interest. I think it would result in clear guidance. I don't think mtns would be moved but the user group would be recognized and we might be able to continue discussions further. User groups are recognized by DEC, the question is whether we are large enough to make a ripple.

Don212- this does not solve the "overland transport" regulation. So the initial transport and out of season transport of a live pickerel would be illegal.
Scott Schlueter
Central NY

#7 PerchKeeper

  • NANFA Guest
  • NY

Posted 01 May 2016 - 02:29 PM

I worked at the NY DEC counsels office for 5 years, 4 months ago I transferred to a diffrent department and I don't currently represent the NY DEC. There are somethings that should be clarified. It is NOT illegal to keep fish native to New York. Aquatic animals are exempt with the exception of reptiles, amphibians and mammals. As long as you can legally catch the fish and it is of proper size you can keep the fish. You can legally buy native fish from breeders and pond farms. If the fish was bought from a licenced breeder/dealer you can have it even if it is not of size. Baitfish transportation laws must be followed when collecting your bait fish, not of bought from a dealer. Once the fish is on private property and not being transported anymore it is legal to have. It is illegal to be in possession of endangered fish.

There are lots of misconceptions going on and I wanted to clear them up. 

Happy Fishing. 

#8 NativeKeeper

  • NANFA Guest
  • USA

Posted 05 May 2016 - 12:56 PM

Can I keep an undersized pickerel if it was bought from a breeder?

#9 PerchKeeper

  • NANFA Guest
  • NY

Posted 06 May 2016 - 11:31 AM

Yes as long as you keep it in a tank. A permit is needed to release it in the wild or a pond which you might have on your land.

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