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Draft New York Sunfish and Crappie Management Plan

Sunfish and Crappie Management Plan cover

Sunfish (bluegill, pumpkinseed, and redbreast sunfish) and crappie (black crappie and white crappie) are widespread and abundant throughout New York and are very popular with anglers. These species generally provide harvest-based fisheries and there is concern that current harvest regulations could result in overharvest and lead to less than ideal size structures and lower quality fishing. DEC Bureau of Fisheries has developed a draft Sunfish and Crappie Management Plan that seeks to balance conservation and fishing opportunities for more sustainable fisheries in waters across the State. The draft plan also proposes development of destination fisheries for larger size sunfish and crappie through the "Big Panfish Initiative."

The draft plan takes into consideration both the current science on sunfish and crappie management and the opinions of New York anglers to set management objectives. Results from an online angler survey indicated support for more conservative sunfish fishing regulations. Recent research on the impacts of sunfish and crappie harvest regulations indicates that lowering daily harvest limits or increasing minimum size limits can result in improvements to population size structure which is likely to improve fishing sustainability and quality for these species.

Comments on the draft plan should be submitted via e-mail to or via mail to Jeff Loukmas, NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4753; subject line "Sunfish and Crappie Management Plan." Comments will be accepted through February 15, 2021.

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