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For Release: Wednesday, March 6, 2013

DEC Announces Proposed Changes to Bighead Carp Regulations to Further Protect the Great Lakes from This Invasive Species

Public Comments Accepted Until April 22

Public comments on the proposed changes to regulations for the import, transport, possession and sale of bighead carp will be accepted until April 22, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today.

"The proposed regulation will ban the importation, possession and sale of live bighead carp in New York," said Commissioner Joe Martens. "Governor Cuomo and DEC recognize the serious threat bighead carp pose as an invasive fish species. Millions of dollars are currently being spent by federal and great lakes state agencies to prevent these fish from gaining access to the Great Lakes basin via the Mississippi River system."

Existing DEC regulations prohibit the possession and sale of fish species, including snakehead fish and three species of Asian Carp (including bighead carp) that it has determined to be a present danger to indigenous fish populations. However, the current prohibitions include an exception that allows bighead carp to be sold, possessed, transported, imported and exported in the five boroughs of the City of New York (Manhattan, Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island) and the Westchester County Towns of Rye, Harrison, and Mamaronek and all the incorporated cities or villages located therein.

As a result of federal action, all interstate transportation of live bighead carp has been banned so the exceptions in DEC's regulations should be repealed. Repeal of the existing exception for live bighead carp will eliminate any possible confusion regarding the legal status of this species in New York, and will bolster efforts to prevent the spread of bighead carp into the Great Lakes states.

Comments on the proposed regulation can be sent via email to fish regulations, or mailed to Shaun Keeler, New York State DEC, Bureau of Fisheries, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4753.

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