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Section 3.1: Diamondback Terrapins

Statutory authority: Environmental Conservation Law, §§ 11-0311[2]

[Adopted Jan 31, 1990]
[Last amended Feb 20, 2008]



§3.1 Diamondback Terrapins

(a) Purpose
(b) Open season
(c) Regulations
(d) License
(e) General provisions

(a) Purpose. The purpose of this section is to provide protection for the diamondback terrapin, "Malaclemys terrapin", including all of its subspecies. Protective measures include the establishment of a closed season, requirement for a license to take diamondback terrapin from the wild, establishment of size limits and restrictions on the sale of diamondback terrapin.

(b) Open season. Diamondback terrapin may be taken from August 1 to April 30 inclusive.

(c) Regulations.

(1) The following are prohibited:

(i) taking, attempting to take, or assisting in taking diamondback terrapin except during the open season. Possession of a diamondback terrapin on the waters or shores of New York State during the closed season shall be presumptive evidence that the diamondback terrapin was taken during such closed season;

(ii) taking, attempting to take, or assisting in taking, of diamondback terrapins without a license;

(iii) taking or possessing at any time while on the waters or shores of New York State a diamondback terrapin which has a straight line upper shell length less than four inches or greater than seven inches;

(iv) purchase or sale of diamondback terrapin which has a straight line upper shell length less than four inches or greater than seven inches. As used in this section, "sale" means any delivery or transfer of a live diamondback terrapin or the flesh of a diamondback terrapin whether for a consideration or as a gift. As used in this section, "sale" includes offering for sale or possession with intent to sell;

(v) sale of diamondback terrapin from May 5 to July 31 inclusive except that diamondback terrapin legally taken during the open season may be sold throughout the year if they were killed and processed for consumption prior to May 5;

(vi) taking diamondback terrapin except by the following methods: (1) dip nets, (2) hand capture, (3) seine nets as authorized by Section 13-0343 of the Environmental Conservation Law, and (4) traps capable of capturing diamondback terrapin alive. Each trap must be marked with a tag bearing the name and address of the licensee and must be checked daily;

(vii) willfully taking, destroying or disturbing in any manner the eggs or nest of a diamondback terrapin in the wild;

(viii) failing to immediately release at the point of capture diamondback terrapin which are caught accidentally or incidentally, or which are not within the legal size limits; and

(ix) liberating diamondback terrapin to the wild, except immediately upon, and only at the point of, capture, without authorization by the department.

(d) License.

(1) A valid diamondback terrapin license is required to take diamondback terrapin.

(2) Application for, and purchase of, a diamondback terrapin license may be made by mail or in person at the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, SUNY Building 40, Stony Brook, NY 11794. The fee for such license shall be ten dollars and such license shall be in effect from July 1st through the following June 30th.

(e) General provisions. The general provisions of the Environmental Conservation Law are applicable to the taking of diamondback terrapin.