The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) announced today that it will hold a meeting of the Fisheries and Hatcheries Committee at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, September 28, 2022, at its Harrisburg headquarters located at 1601 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, Pa 17110. Among the purposes of the meeting is to discuss a proposal to create a fish stocking authorization program and enhance protections against the spread of aquatic invasive species. This is an in-person meeting, and the public is invited to attend.
To prepare for this meeting, the public comment period associated with this proposal has been extended for 30 days, and comments will now be accepted until September 17, 2022. To view the proposalOpens In A New Window and submit public comment online, visit the PFBC website (Fishandboat.com).
Under this proposal, two chapters of the Pennsylvania Code (58 Pa. Code § 71 and § 73) would be combined into a single chapter (58 Pa. Code § 71a) to address current conservation challenges, improve fisheries management and fish health, prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, and simplify the code.
Among the changes being proposed is the creation of a simple, no-fee, user-friendly stocking authorization process through which anyone stocking fish within Pennsylvania waters would be required to obtain authorization from the PFBC before stocking. This process, like those currently used by more than 30 other state fish and wildlife agencies, is intended to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species and introduction of new aquatic pathogens that could affect the Commonwealth’s aquatic resources. Commercial fish producers would also be required to test certain fish imported into Pennsylvania for disease before stocking in areas where those diseases do not occur.
To further prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species by boats, this proposal also includes new watercraft inspection requirements. Under this proposal, all boaters (with limited exceptions for fishing tournaments), would be required to drain live wells and bilges before transporting their watercraft away from the water on which they were boating. At least 19 other states already have watercraft inspection requirements in place.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission