Unlawful Actions & Penalties Associated
with Title 50 Chapter 13 Protection of Fish
Section 50-13-1610 Unlawful Sell, Sale, Barter, Traffic or Purchase of Game Fish
It is unlawful to sell, offer for sale, barter, traffic in, or purchase any fish classified as a game fish under the provisions of this title except as allowed by this title regardless of where caught. A person violating this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be punished as follows:
- for a first offense, by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars or imprisonment for not more than thirty days;
- for a second offense within three years of a first offense, by a fine of not less than three hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars or imprisonment for not more than thirty days;
- for a third or subsequent offense within three years of a second or subsequent offense, by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars or imprisonment for not more than thirty days;
- for a fourth and subsequent offense within five years of the date of conviction for the first offense must be punished as provided for a third offense.
Section 50-13-1615 Sell, Sale or Possess for Sale of Nongame Fish
A person selling, offering for sale, or possessing for sale freshwater nongame fish must have in possession dated invoices, bills of sale, or other documentation verifying the origin of the fish and from whom procured.
Section 50-13-1630 Fish Illegal for Possession, Sale, Offer for Sale or Import
A person may not possess, sell, offer for sale, import, bring, or cause to be brought or imported into this State or release anywhere in this State the following species at any stage of its life cycle:
- carnero or candiru catfish (Vandellia cirrhosa);
- freshwater electric eel (Electrophorus electricus);
- white amur or grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella);
- walking catfish or a member of the clariidae family (Clarias, Heteropneustea, Gymnallabes, Channallabes, or Heterobranchus genera);
- Mexican banded tetra;
- sea lamprey;
- rudd (Scardinius erythrophtalmu-Linneaus);
- snakehead (all members of family Channidae);
- rusty crayfish (Orconectes rusticus); and
- other nonindigenous species not established, except by permit, exclusive of the recognized pet trade species.
The department may issue special import permits to qualified persons for research and education only.
The department may issue permits for stocking sterile white amur or grass carp hybrids in the waters of this State. The permits must certify that the permittee's white amur or grass carp hybrids have been tested and determined to be sterile. The department may charge a fee of one dollar for each white amur or grass carp hybrid that measures five inches or longer or twenty-five cents for each white amur or grass carp hybrid that measures less than five inches. The fee collected for sterility testing must be retained by the department and used to offset the costs of the testing.
- The department is authorized to promulgate regulations to establish a fee schedule to replace the fee schedule mentioned above. Upon these regulations taking effect, the fee schedule mentioned above no longer applies.
The department may issue permits for the importation, breeding, and possession of nonsterile white amur or grass carp hybrids. The permits must be issued pursuant to the provisions of the Aquaculture Enabling Act in Article 2, Chapter 18 of Title 50. Provided, however, that no white amur or grass carp hybrids imported, bred, or possessed pursuant to this subsection may be stocked in the waters of this State except as provided by those permitted by the department.
It is unlawful to take, harm, or kill grass carp from public waters. Any grass carp taken must be returned immediately to the water from which it was taken.
The department shall prescribe the qualifications, methods, controls, and restrictions required of a person or his agent to whom a permit is issued. The department shall condition all permits issued under this section to safeguard public safety and welfare and prevent the introduction into the wild or release of nonnative species of fish or other organisms into the waters of this State. The department may promulgate regulations necessary to effectuate this section and specifically to prohibit additional species of fish from being imported, possessed, or sold in this State when the department determines the species of fish are potentially dangerous. A violation of the terms of the permit may result in revocation and a civil penalty of up to five thousand dollars. An appeal is pursuant to the provisions of Article 2, Chapter 23, Title 1 (the Administrative Procedures Act).
A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than five hundred nor more than two thousand five hundred dollars or imprisoned for thirty days, or both.
Section 50-13-1635 Release of Aquatic Species & Use of Fish as Bait
Except bait lost incidental to fishing or fish released into the waters from which they were taken, it is unlawful to intentionally release any aquatic species, regardless of the stage of its life cycle, into the waters of this State without a permit from the department.
It is unlawful to use any nonindigenous fish as bait that is not already established in the water body being fished except the following minnows: fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas), golden shiners (Notemigonus crysoleucas), and goldfish, including 'black salties' (Carassius auratus). Magistrates court retains concurrent jurisdiction of this offense.
A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than five hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars or up to thirty days in jail, or both. In addition to the criminal penalties, the court may order a civil penalty sufficient to cover costs for eradication.
The department may permit the federal government to conduct fish culture and scientific investigations in the waters of this State in connection with hatchery operations or management of those species under federal jurisdiction.
Section 50-13-1940 Scientific Permits
The department may grant permits to collect freshwater fish for scientific purposes during any time of the year and on any area including sanctuaries without further review. The application must be accompanied by the requisite fee. The department shall investigate the applicant and the need for the permit. A permit is valid until December thirty-first in the year in which issued. A permit must be extended for one year with payment of the fee. A permit is not transferable but a student assistant working under the direct supervision of the permittee is covered by the permit. All collecting must be done in accordance with recognized scientific methods. Data and results must be made available to the department upon request. The conditions of the permit must be adhered to. The department may suspend or cancel the permit at its discretion.
A person violating this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than two hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned for up to thirty days, or both.
The department, without cost to this State, shall designate and establish sanctuaries where fish may breed unmolested, in the manner and subject to the provisions in this article. Section 50-13- 1950
The department may select any place upon any river or stream within this State as a fish sanctuary. Upon making this selection, the board, upon approval in writing of a majority of the members of the county legislative delegation from the county in which this proposed fish sanctuary is to be located, may designate and set apart the place as a fish sanctuary. A sanctuary may not exceed two miles in length along any river or stream. When a sanctuary is so designated and set apart, the board shall have it adequately and conspicuously marked and shall designate the limits of it in all directions. Section 50-13-1960.
A person fishing or trespassing upon any property or waters so established as a sanctuary by the department is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not exceeding two hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days. In cases where magistrates have countywide territorial jurisdiction, the magistrate closest to the sanctuary where the offense occurred shall have jurisdiction of the case. In counties where magistrates are given separate and exclusive territorial jurisdiction the case must be tried as provided in Section 22-3-530. Section 50-13-1990.
A fish sanctuary is established in the St. Stephen Rediversion Canal between the Corps of Engineers' powerhouse and the Atlantic Coastline Railroad Bridge. It is unlawful for a person to fish in the sanctuary except as provided in this section.
- From March first to May first each year, fishing for nongame fish is allowed from the Atlantic Coastline Bridge upstream to a point marked by signs or buoys, or both. This location must be marked by the department after consultation with and with the permission of the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Fishing is allowed from six p.m. to twelve midnight. The area otherwise is closed to all fishing and boating activities.
- The catch limit is five hundred pounds of fish or one hundred dozen fish a boat a day. Game fish taken must be returned immediately to the water. All fish, except those used for live bait, must be packed in boxes with a one hundred pound capacity before crossing back under the railroad bridge.
- Fishing devices must not be used except cast nets, dip nets, or drop nets. The diameter of the dip or drop nets used may not exceed six feet. Nets must not be operated by the use of mechanical devices such as winches, cranes, or pulleys.
- A person violating this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than twenty-five nor more than one hundred dollars or imprisoned not less than fifteen nor more than thirty days. Section 50-13-2015