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Requirements for Selling Baitfish

In addition to obtaining a baitfish dealer license, each establishment for wholesale or retail sale of baitfish must adhere to the following requirements as summarized on this page.

Selling Certified Baitfish

Certified Fish are tested and found to be free of specified diseases in accordance with the requirements outlined in the Fish Health Inspection Regulations - 6 NYCRR Part 188 (leaves DEC website). A general summary on the requirements for selling certified baitfish are provided below.

  • For both wholesale and retail purposes, a fish health certification report must be kept for all baitfish owned or held at the place of sale. Uncertified baitfish cannot be sold in the same facility with certified baitfish; otherwise, all fish will be considered uncertified.
  • Commercially harvested or raised baitfish that have been certified may be sold and transported overland.
    • When selling baitfish for wholesale, a copy of a sales receipt (containing the list of items below) AND a fish health certification report will need to be provided to the purchaser (retail establishment). See more about fish health certifications and approved testing facilities.
    • When selling baitfish for retail, only a copy of the sales receipt indicating the following must be provided to the customer:
      • Seller's name
      • Date of sale
      • Species of fish
      • Number of each species sold
        Note: the receipt remains valid for 10 days from the date of retail sale, including the date of the sale. Once expired, the baitfish will be considered uncertified.

Selling Uncertified Baitfish

Uncertified Fish have not been tested or do not meet the requirements to be considered certified/disease free. Uncertified baitfish increase the risk of spreading fish diseases. As a result, there are further requirements for selling uncertified fish as summarized below.

  • Uncertified baitfish can only be used in the same waterbody from which they were collected.
  • An Overland Transport Permit is required to transport uncertified bait fish to the place of sale. To request an application for this permit, contact your local DEC Fisheries Office.
  • A sales receipt must be given to the customer indicating the following:
    • Seller's name
    • Date of sale
    • Species of fish
    • Number of each species sold
    • Waterbody the baitfish must be used in
    • Warning that the baitfish cannot be transported overland by motorized vehicle, with the exception of designated overland transportation corridors.

Selling Dead Baitfish

Dead baitfish, packaged for commercial purposes and preserved by any method other than freezing only, may be possessed, sold, and transported overland. Each package must be individually labeled, which identifies the following:

  • Name of the packager-processor
  • Species of fish
  • Number of fish packaged
  • Means of preservation

Commercial Harvest of Baitfish

  • Greenlist species and designated waters: Only specific fish species can be harvested from specially designated waters and sold as bait. Approved species and waters are provided in Title 6 - NYCRR Part 35.2 (leaves DEC website)
  • Commercially harvested batfish from inland waters can only be possessed and sold for use on the same waterbody from which they were caught and cannot be transported overland by a motorized vehicle unless an Overland Transport Permit is obtained from DEC. Permit applications are available through local DEC Fisheries Offices.
  • Baitfish collected from the wild are considered uncertified. For details on certifying fish as disease free, visit the fish health inspections page.
  • Baitfish collected in the marine and coastal district can only be used within marine district waters and the tidal Hudson River waters south of the Federal Dam at Troy.

Rules and Regulations

Prior to selling baitfish in New York, baitfish dealers must be familiar with all requirements as outlined in the New York Rules, Codes and Regulations (NYCRR) and Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) as listed below.

All links that follow leave the DEC website


Contact your local DEC Regional Fisheries Office if you need further assistance and information on selling baitfish.

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