[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Baitfish, the state has warned, can spread disease... but not when carried within a specific watershed. Rules are changing..."]
[/caption]Pining for the start of fishing season? Note that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
(DEC) is proposing revisions to the current rule restricting overland transport of uncertified baitfish and now looking to allow baitfish to be transported overland within defined "transportation corridors" for use within the same waterbody from which they are collected. DEC anticipates issuing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking later this month to be followed by a 45-day public comment period. The current baitfish regulations contain prohibitions on the overland motorized transport of baitfish, including personally collected baitfish and baitfish collected for commercial sale. The rule was established in 2007 after an outbreak of viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS), a disease that can cause internal bleeding and death in certain fish, in the Great Lakes system and several other waters in 2005 and 2006. While VHS was the primary concern, other serious fish pathogens were also addressed when the rule was established. Since the regulation was established, though, anglers have voiced concern that the overland transport restriction impedes their ability to use personally collected baitfish on the same body of water from which the baitfish are collected. Acting DEC Commissioner Peter Martens said that his agency wants to show their appreciation for fishing's economic impact in the state.