The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources announces the implementation of a new regulation to address the release of fish, mussels, snails and crayfish into Alabama’s public freshwaters. The regulation approved by Commissioner Barnett Lawley and put into effect on April 19, 2003, reads as follows:
It shall be unlawful to intentionally stock or release any fish, mussel, snail, crayfish or their embryos including bait fish into the public waters of Alabama under the jurisdiction of the Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries as provided in Rule 220-2-.42 except those waters from which it came without the written permission of a designated employee of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources authorized by the Director of the Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries to issue such permit. The provisions of this rule shall not apply to the incidental release of bait into the water during the normal process of fishing.
One of the greatest challenges facing natural resource agencies is the indiscriminate release of non-native aquatic species, transplanting of an aquatic species from one water drainage to another and the release of native aquatic species which may be infected with an infectious disease or parasite. These types of aquatic species are often referred to as nuisance species. Types of impacts related to the release of nuisance aquatic species include genetic pollution, introductions of pathogens, competition, water intake blockages, habitat alterations, public health, commercial and recreational fishing and many more which can result in permanent harm to the environment and tremendous economic losses.
Corky Pugh, Director of Alabama’s Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries stated, “This regulation provides a higher level of control over the unwanted stocking of fish, mussels, snails, and crayfish into the public waters of Alabama. Aquatic nuisance species and their impacts cause a wide range of concerns; from aquatic creatures infected with viruses to the introduction of exotic fish such as snakeheads, we are committed to protecting the aquatic resources of Alabama for the benefit of the people of Alabama.”
Bruce Shupp, Conservation Director of B.A.S.S., stated, “Bassmaster commends the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for Regulation 220-2-.129, prohibiting release of fish into the public waters of Alabama, without the written permission from the Department of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. Introduction of exotic and/or unwanted species is one of America's biggest aquatic resource problems. It is time to ensure that Alabama's waters are protected against harmful introductions of fishes that would be detrimental to the state's fisheries, no matter how well intended by the perpetrator. Our thanks to Stan Cook, Corky Pugh, and Commissioner Lawley for this vital regulation.”
Any person, company, government agency or other entity desiring to stock or release any fish, mussel, snail, crayfish or their embryos into Alabama public waters must contact the Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries at 1-334-242-3471 for information about applying for a permit. Or send a letter to:
Mr. Nick Nichols, Fisheries Section
Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division
64 North Union Street
Montgomery, Alabama 36104.
Fishing Tip: To keep dry livewells, minnow buckets and coolers from smelling during storage, put a charcoal briquette inside a sock. The charcoal will absorb some of the odor. Be sure to take the charcoal out before using the livewell, bucket or cooler.