The Missouri Conservation Commission gave initial approval last week to proposed regulation changes from the Missouri Department of Conservation that would add to personal and commercial uses of grass carp and common carp.
The new regulations follow public requests to catch and use common and grass carp as live bait, according to an MDC news release. A related regulation on the use of common carp as live bait became effective last August. Since then, MDC staff have received comments from anglers, bait dealers, the Missouri Aquaculture Association, and others on the regulation change.
The resulting additional proposed regulations would allow for common carp and grass carp to be used for live bait once the regulations become effective Aug. 30. The proposed regulations would also allow for limited commercial capture and sale of common and grass carp to commercial establishments by contractors participating in an MDC-contracted invasive fish removal project.
Grass carp and common carp are currently listed as invasive fish species in Missouri, along with bighead, black and silver carp. These invasive species pose threats to Missouri aquatic ecosystems by outcompeting native species and damaging water quality and habitat, according to MDC.
The proposed regulation changes would not apply to bighead and silver carp, which would remain on the Missouri invasive species list, or to black carp, which would remain on the Missouri prohibited species list.
The proposed regulations would:
Remove common carp and grass carp from the definition of invasive fish.
Reestablish the sport seasons, methods and limits for taking common carp and grass carp, and allow their use as live bait.
Reestablish the commercial fishing seasons, methods and limits for taking common carp and grass carp in certain streams, and establish restrictions on the use of commercial fishing gear used to catch them.
Authorize the sale of common carp and grass carp to commercial establishments by contractors participating in an MDC-contracted invasive fish removal project.
MDC invites public comment on the regulation changes from March 2-31 at mdc.mo.gov/about-regulations/wildlife-code-missouri/proposed-regulation-changes and by mail to Regulations Committee Chairman, Department of Conservation, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO, 65102-0180.
MDC will review all comments received and present a final proposal for a final vote by the Conservation Commission during its May 21 public meeting.