Turtles are present in most ponds. They are primarily scavengers and are not harmful to fish populations. They may be a nuisance by stealing bait or fish from stringers, but under most circumstances, turtles should be left alone as some species are protected and should not be harmed or captured. Control information is available from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
The information above came from the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division's booklet Sportfish Management in Alabama Ponds, which is available as a PDF.
Turtles protected by the Nongame Species Regulation 220-2-.92 include:
Alabama Map Turtle
Alabama Red-bellied Turtle
Alligator Snapping Turtle
Barbour's Map Turtle
Black-knobbed Sawback Turtle
Escambia Map Turtle
Flattened Musk Turtle
Turtles are protected by regulation and by law. These regulations include, but are not limited to:
"No person shall take, attempt to take, sell or possess any turtle egg or turtle or parts thereof from the wild in this state, to include public and private waters, for commercial purposes. This is not to prohibit the operations of properly permitted 'Turtle Farmers' or 'Turtle Dealers' as defined in Rule 220-2-.142."
"This is not to prohibit the removal of turtles from a privately constructed farm pond by the landowner or his agent while controlling nuisance animals as long as the turtles are not sold or traded for anything of value."
"Nothing in this regulation prohibits the taking for personal use of up to two legal turtles per day by hand, dip net or hook and line however, no person shall take more than two turtles per day from the wild in this state, to include public and private waters."
"It shall be unlawful to possess more than one box turtle or to offer for sale, sell, or trade for anything of value any box turtle (Terapene spp.), box turtle part or reproductive product except by permit as outlined in 220-2-.92."
"No person, firm or corporation shall import or cause to be imported, any nonindigenous turtle species for the purpose of propagation."