N.Y. Bans Catch & Release Photos of Out of Season Fish

The New York state Department of Environmental Conservation is cracking down on anglers who take photos of fish caught out of season and post them on social media websites, according to the Watertown Daily Times. Photographing such fish is now a ticketable offense under a regulation that took effect April 1. The regulation is listed on Page 52 of the new DEC fishing guide that people get when they buy a fishing license.

According to the fishing guide, "A person may not fish for a species (even if immediately released) during the closed season for that species on a given water. Fish caught during the closed season must be unhooked and released immediately. They may not be handled for any other purpose, including taking a photo." Those who take photos of out-of-season fish can be ticketed by an environmental conservation officer, according to DEC Region 6 spokesman Stephen W. Litwhiler. The penalty can be a fine of up to $250, and/or 15 days in jail.

Anglers who are found to have deliberately fished for out-of-season species face the same penalties. People who accidentally catch out-of-season fish need to exercise caution, Mr. Litwhiler said. "If you're catching the fish by accident, you need to release it quickly and with as little injury to the fish as possible," he said. "If you're taking a photo, that's evidence you did not unhook and release it immediately. ... The longer it takes, you're decreasing that fish's chance of survival."

Mr. Litwhiler could not confirm Tuesday whether conservation officers will actively search for such photos on the Internet, or if they will only investigate photos when reports are made. Read the rest of writer Ted Booker's article in the Watertown Daily Times here: http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/news03/new-rule-cracks-down-on-anglers-who-photograph-out-of-season-fish-20150520