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Black Bass Transportation and Sale FAQs

DEC recently adopted a new regulation that will expand the opportunity for the sale of hatchery reared black bass in New York. The newly adopted regulation explicitly provides for the sale and distribution of hatchery reared largemouth bass for human consumption. Smallmouth bass may not be sold for human consumption. Both largemouth bass and smallmouth bass may still be sold for stocking or exhibition purposes, as was allowed under the previous regulation. The new regulation stipulates that that only black bass originating from a black bass hatchery or otherwise as permitted by the Fish and Wildlife Law may be purchased or offered for sale in New York. The information below is provided to help answer questions about the new regulation, and it contains a link to the actual wording of the new regulation.


Q: When did the new regulation take effect?

A: The regulation took effect on January 2, 2013

Q: What does the regulation allow?

A: The regulation allows hatchery reared smallmouth bass and largemouth bass to be transported and sold for stocking or exhibition purposes; and allows the sale, transportation and distribution of only hatchery reared largemouth bass for human consumption.

Q: What are the requirements for the sale of bass for stocking into New York waters?

A: The bass (largemouth or smallmouth) must originate from a hatchery permitted by NYS DEC; the seller must provide a bill of sale to the purchaser and retain a copy of same; the seller must provide to the purchaser a copy of the fish health inspection report certifying the fish to be disease free; and the shipping container must be marked "black bass".

Q: May largemouth bass be purchased for human consumption?

A: Yes, only largemouth bass may be sold and purchased for human consumption. The purchaser must be issued a receipt by the seller, and must keep the receipt until the fish is prepared for consumption. Smallmouth bass may not be sold or purchased for human consumption.

Q: Is a fish health inspection report required for largemouth bass being sold only for human consumption?

A: DEC's new regulation does not require inspection of largemouth bass being sold only for human consumption; but, live largemouth bass being shipped into New York from VHS affected or at risk regions (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and the Canadian Provinces of Ontario and Quebec) must still meet the requirements of the April 2008 APHIS Amended Federal Order (PDF) (17 KB) governing movements (shipments) of VHS susceptible species of live fish. These fish may need to be tested for VHS.

Q: What are the requirements for the sale of largemouth bass for human consumption?

A: Sellers must issue a receipt to purchasers; sellers must retain copies of their purchase and sales records for two years; and sellers are required to kill all largemouth bass before transferring possession to the final customer.

Q: Who may sell black bass in New York?

A: Black bass may be sold by black bass hatchery permit holders; by licensed fishing preserves; by wholesale distributors or transporters, or by markets and restaurants.

Q: Are wholesale distributors or transporters required to obtain a license or permit from DEC?

A: No special license or permit is required, but they must possess an original bill of sale for the fish they possess and comply with all transportation and record keeping requirements detailed in the regulation.

Q: What is meant by a black bass hatchery?

A: A NYS DEC permitted facility (in-state or out-of-state) in which black bass (smallmouth or largemouth) are bred, propagated or otherwise cultured for sale or trade in New York. The facility must possess hatchery rearing equipment (such as buildings, tanks, raceways or other structures).

Q: I have a hatchery and raise black bass; how do I obtain a hatchery permit, allowing me to sell black bass in NYS?

A: You may obtain a hatchery permit application from the NYSDEC, Bureau of Fisheries, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4753, which should be filled out and returned to the same address. Hatchery permits are valid on a calendar year basis.

Q: May Department staff members inspect a black bass hatchery and examine records?

A: Yes, and samples of black bass may be taken for the purpose of verifying compliance with a hatchery permit, the Environmental Conservation Law, or the new regulations.

Q: May bass raised in hatcheries outside of New York be transported into New York?

A: Yes. Transporters must be able to demonstrate that the fish originated from a NYS DEC permitted black bass hatchery, and comply with transportation and record keeping requirements specified in the regulation.

Q: What is the actual wording of the new black bass transportation regulation?

A: The full text of the regulation is available. Detailed requirements for record keeping, bills of sale, receipts, and other important elements of the regulations are specified in the text. If you wish to purchase, sell, or transport hatchery reared black bass, please read the regulation carefully.

If you have additional questions please call DEC's Bureau of Fisheries at 518-402-8890