The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 10 Appendix: Vermont Fish and Wildlife Regulations

Chapter 2: FISH

Sub-Chapter 2: Seasons, Waters, And Limits

10 V.S.A. App. § 139. Fish importation



§ 139. Fish importation

1.0 Authority

1.1 This rule is adopted pursuant to 10 V.S.A §§ 4081(a), 4082, 4083 and 4605 which authorize the board to carry out the purposes of protecting the state's fish and the waters of this state.

 2.0 Purpose:

2.1 It is the purpose of this regulation to carry out the mandate of the Vermont general assembly to control through a permit program the importation of fish as provided in 10 V.S.A. § 4605 to guard the health of Vermont's fish populations and prevent the introduction of fish and fish diseases that could have the potential to cause harm to fish populations in the waters of the state.

 3.0 Definitions

3.1 Fish - all fresh and salt-water fish species including fish ovum and fish semen that will be introduced into any of the inland or outlying waters of the state as defined in 10 V.S.A. § 1251(13).

3.2 Board - Vermont fish and wildlife board

3.3 Department - Vermont fish & wildlife department

3.4 Commissioner - Fish and wildlife department commissioner

3.5 Person - an individual, association, corporation, partnership, or municipality.

3.6 State - state of Vermont

3.7 Fish Hatchery - Any fish culture station, hatchery, rearing pond, net pen, container which holds, rears or releases fish for sale and/or distribution in waters of Vermont.

 4.0 Importation of Fish

4.1 It is unlawful for any person to bring into the state any fish that will be introduced into any of the inland or outlying waters of the state unless upon application in writing and receipt of a fish importation permit from the commissioner.

4.2 No person shall import fish unless the fish come from a fish hatchery approved by the commissioner. Fish disease inspection shall be made by inspection of the fish at the hatchery source by an inspector acceptable to the department. Inspection procedures, methods of diagnosis, and inspection frequency will be specified by the department.

4.3 Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph 4.2, the commissioner may, subject to conditions designed to protect the fish and wildlife in the state, permit the importation of live wild caught fish species from waters identified in a list maintained by the department.

4.4 No fish that are considered endangered or threatened by the department shall be permitted into the state unless the department determines that the intent of such importation is for scientific purposes or for purposes of re-establishment of fish populations.

4.5 The importation and possession of dead fish is exempt from this regulation provided they are disposed of to guard against the introduction of fish diseases to state waters. Acceptable disposal methods include: 1) placement of all fish waste products in an approved state landfill; or 2) incineration of all fish waste products; or 3) burial of fish on private land only, no less than one hundred feet from a public water.

4.6 Dead fish imported and possessed as bait must be processed through approved methods which eliminate all fish pathogens. These approved methods will be identified in a list maintained by the department.

 5.0 Permits

5.1 Bait Dealers Permit

5.1.1 All commercial dealers who import, export or sell fish must first obtain a valid bait dealers permit pursuant to 10 V.S.A App. § 122.

5.2 Importation Permit

5.2.1 The commissioner shall not issue a permit unless it has been determined that the fish proposed to be brought into the state do not conflict with the purpose of this regulation.

5.2.2 For all fish species, the commissioner shall consider the following criteria in determining whether to issue a fish importation permit: does the fish proposed for importation pose a potential threat to the fisheries resources of the state through diseases or species competition; are they free of all disease organisms as the department may specify; could the fish be a significant competitor with resident fish and wildlife for food and habitat; could the fish be destructive to habitat; could the fish be a threat to the health of resident fishes, wildlife, or humans; and could the fish pose any other threat to public or private interests as may be determined by the department.

5.3 Temporary Exhibition

5.3.1 Any person importing fish for the purposes of temporary exhibition must obtain a fish importation permit from the commissioner. The commissioner may impose conditions necessary to protect the health and welfare of Vermont's fish and wildlife.

6.1 Application for a fish importation, bait dealers, scientific, education, or temporary exhibit permit must be complete and submitted to the department on an application form to be provided by the department.  For an application to be considered complete, it must be legible, must contain all information requested by the department, shall contain no false statements, must bear the applicant's official signature and must be accompanied by the required application fee.

6.2 With regard to all fish, the applicant shall present to the department, as a requirement of the permit, written fish health inspection reports as the department may specify. Fish health inspection reports shall be made by a qualified fish health inspector acceptable to the department.

 7.0 Inspections

7.1 Persons holding a fish importation, bait dealers and education or temporary exhibit permit shall allow inspection at reasonable times of their premises, facilities, records, and fish by state game wardens or other duly authorized persons as the commissioner may direct.

7.2 The issued permit shall be available for inspection by any duly authorized persons as the commissioner may direct.

 8.0 Quarantine, Destruction, Sterilization and Disposition Where Disease and Harmful Species are Present

8.1 The department may require a period of quarantine and treatment, the destruction of fish, and/or order whatever remedial action necessary; if a harmful fish species and/or fish pathogens are confirmed. This shall occur at the expense of the owner.

8.2 Commercial hatcheries or ponds under private ownership may be ordered by the department to be sterilized at the expense of the owner, if upon inspection a harmful fish pathogen or species is confirmed.

8.3 Any fish, which are brought into the state in violation of these regulations or kept in violation of any permit issued may be disposed of in accordance with  10 V.S.A. § 4709. (Added 2007, Fish and Wildlife Reg. No. 881A, eff. March 13, 2007.)