Stocking Privately Held Waters
Land owners are often interested in stocking fish into waters on their property. Even though a pond or section of stream is privately owned, there are two important requirements that must be met before stocking occurs. Under Environmental Conservation Law a fish stocking permit must be obtained from DEC before fish or fish eggs may be placed into any waters of the state. These permits are required to help protect the state's natural resources from possible harm due to stocking of undesirable or potentially troublesome fish species. For example some fish species are capable of disrupting plant, fish, or other animal communities and escapement of fish from one water to another due to events such as dam failure or flooding is frequently possible. By reviewing stocking permit applications, DEC fisheries personnel can also help you select fish species that are most likely to do well in the water you wish to stock.
To limit the risk of harm to the state's fisheries resources caused by fish diseases, DEC has enacted regulations that require fish health inspections for fish that are to be stocked into waters of the state, even privately owned waters. Depending upon fish species, inspections must certify that fish are free of up to 8 different pathogens (disease causing organisms). Private hatcheries or vendors that either raise or import fish for stocking in New York must have annual inspections. If you purchase fish for stocking, you should ask for (and must be provided with) a copy of the fish health certificate covering the fish species you are buying. This certificate must accompany the fish from point of purchase to stocking location.
How do I obtain a stocking permit?
You should contact the DEC office nearest to you and ask to receive a stocking permit application (PDF) (347 kB). Fill it out and return it to DEC.
How much do stocking permits cost?
They are free.
Who sells inspected fish?
A list of private hatcheries with inspected fish for sale is available on DEC's website, or you may obtain a list from the DEC office handling your stocking permit application.
Can I stock fish that I caught from another water into my pond?
No. It is illegal to move fish from one body of water to another. You may unknowingly stock fish that are carrying a disease.