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New Ohio Division of Wildlife Regulations Impact Aquatic Animal Importation or Stocking

New Ohio Division of Wildlife Regulations Impact Aquatic Animal Importation or Stocking


Modifications to Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife, aquaculture and bait dealer regulations took effect January 1, 2024:

  • The injurious aquatic invasive species now includes Florida Bass (Micropterus floridanus), Alabama Bass (Micropterus henshalli), and their hybrids, along with red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii).
  • Hybrid Green Sunfish can be sold as bait.
  • Prohibiting the take and possession of Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) only within their native range in the Ashtabula, Chagrin, Conneaut and Grand river watersheds.

Florida and Alabama basses can hybridize with other closely related Micropterus spp., thereby degrading the genetic integrity of native species in natural populations. Invasions of these species have led to significant reductions in the populations of native black basses in some regions of the United States and reduced the quality of sport fisheries. Preventing the spread of these fishes into Ohio waters is essential for securing the genetic integrity of Ohio’s native black bass populations and maintaining quality black bass fishing that anglers expect. Red swamp crayfish was moved from an aquaculture class B species to the injurious aquatic invasive species list over concerns of this invasive species establishing and outcompeting native crayfish species within the state.

These new regulations make it illegal to knowingly possess, import, release into the wild, or sell Florida Bass, Alabama Bass, and their hybrids in Ohio. Red swamp crayfish may still be imported or harvested from the wild and possessed alive for consumption as long as they are killed within forty-eight hours of receipt or possession.

Updated regulations can be found by clicking on: and

Within Ohio, Bluegill and Green Sunfish can be sold as bait. Because Green Sunfish readily hybridize with Bluegill, and other sunfishes, it’s difficult for fish producers to ensure that the Bluegill and Green Sunfish they are selling as bait are truly pure species and not hybrids.  The addition of hybrid Green Sunfish is intended to expand opportunities for bait sales and simplify the bait dealer rules. Hybrid Green Sunfish are common in wild sunfish populations throughout Ohio, therefore the agency does not expect introductions of hybrid Green Sunfishes as bait to have any negative consequences for native sunfish populations.

Updated regulation found here:

The historical native range of Brook Trout is limited to only a portion of Northeast Ohio; specifically the Ashatabula, Chagrin, Conneaut, and Grand river basins. The Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture has indicated that Brook Trout are at “Very High” risk of loss from habitat degradation in Ohio. As a result, Brook Trout were elevated on the State of Ohio Threatened and Endangered list to endangered status in 2022.  However, several trout clubs, primarily in Northwest Ohio, have been raising and stocking Brook Trout into the waterways they own and have managed for decades. By changing the endangered listing of Brook Trout to only apply within their native range, producers and anglers will no longer be in violation of the rules associated with prohibiting possession of state listed endangered species. This regulation is intended to provide protection to state endangered Brook Trout within their native range, while still allowing for the stocking and possession of Brook Trout in the rest of the state.

Updated regulation found here:

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