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The new regulations change the way Kansas anglers collect and use live bait fish and were approved to curtail the spread of invasive aquatic species — particularly Asian carp, zebra mussels, and white perch — in Kansas lakes and streams. These and other aquatic nuisance species are often spread accidently by people using the state’s lakes and rivers.
The Commission listened to public comments and considered various options before taking action. Commissioners voted on regulations that will take effect Jan. 1, 2012 and will 1) allow anglers to use wild-caught live bait fish only in the pool of a lake or impoundment where taken; 2) prohibit anglers from transporting wild-caught bait fish taken from a flowing stream or river across any dam or natural barrier; 3) prohibit anglers from transporting any live fish upon departure from any ANS-designated body of water; 4) prohibit releasing any fish in department waters (unless the fish was caught from the water into which it is being released), navigable publicly-owned rivers, and federal reservoirs; and 4) require that vessels being removed from all waters of the state have livewells and bilges drained and drain plugs removed before transport on any public highway.
Aquatic nuisance species are animals and plants not native to Kansas that can threaten lake and river ecology, harm native or desirable species, and interfere with the state’s economy. Negative impacts on Kansas waters include, but are not limited to, the following:
increased risk of flooding due to overcrowded biomass and clogging of lake outlets.
Anglers will not be able to transport any live fish from waters listed in the Kansas Fishing Regulations Summary (available wherever licenses are sold) as harboring ANS species. And finally, all boaters will be required to remove drain plugs and drain livewells and bilges before transporting vessels on public highways from waters of the state.
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