Dont be a Bonehead
Connecticut’s fisheries have been established and are monitored by professional biologists who carefully evaluate and consider pros, cons and risks prior to the introduction of any fish to the waters of the state. These fisheries are a multi-million dollar resource that we all enjoy, and our sport fisheries are some of the finest in North America.
Fish communities are often in a delicate balance, easily disrupted by seemingly insignificant and harmless actions. Disruption of our fisheries is not limited to the Illegal stocking of known problem species like Asian carp, snakehead, and others, but can potentially include popular gamefish like Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, Walleye, Northern Pike, Bowfin, and Calico Bass. When moved to new waters, all have the potential to alter existing fisheries and aquatic systems.
Moving live fish to new waterbodies is both a bad idea and illegal (Connecticut General Statute 26-55)! You can be fined $85 per violation (each fish). The danger is once a new fish species becomes established; removal of the undesirable or disruptive fish species from a waterbody is labor intensive, costly, and usually ineffective.
You can help:
- Only release fish back into the same waterbody where they were caught.
- Apply for a permit from the Inland Fisheries Division (www.ct.gov/deep/fishing).
- Inform CT DEEP if you are aware of others illegally introducing fish (860-424-FISH or 860-424-3333).
- Unless obtained on site, dispose of all unused live bait into an appropriate trash container.
- Check, Drain, and Dry before moving to a new waterbody. Boaters, the law (CGS 15-180; CGS 22a-381d) requires the inspection and removal and proper disposal of vegetation and potential invasive species prior to transporting the vessel. You can be fined $95 per violation.
Three fish that have already proven to be disruptive to Connecticut’s aquatic systems are:
- White Perch: Can be very prolific, creating large populations of very small fish (stunted) which, decrease the overall food supply for other fish species.
- Alewife (land-locked): Feed on microscopic zooplankton (animal plankton) and reduce the growth and survival of the young of many fish species.
- Rock Bass: where they have become numerous, they have resulted in reduced numbers of more desirable fish species such as largemouth and smallmouth bass.
Moving live fish from one water to another or introducing a new species may have a negative impact on a new waterbody by:
- Changing the amount and type of food available
- Causing reductions in popular recreational species
- Reducing native fish species
- Changes in water quality and clarity
- Transferring unintended harmful aquatic plants and animals (in the water used to keep the fish alive during transport).