SPRINGFIELD, IL – Several changes in the regulations regarding the commercial harvest of caviar-bearing fishes in Illinois have been adopted effective Oct. 1, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Acting Director Sam Flood announced today.
“Over the last several years, the commercial harvest of both paddlefish and shovelnose sturgeon has increased. These two species – and to a lesser extent bowfin – are harvested so their eggs can be processed into caviar,” Flood said. “In order to ensure that a sustainable fishery for these species can be maintained, a series of updated regulations are being implemented. The IDNR has worked closely with representatives from the Illinois Commercial Fishing Association to develop this package of regulations.”
Effective Oct. 1, all commercial fishermen who wish to harvest paddlefish, shovelnose sturgeon or bowfin in Illinois will need to first purchase a commercial roe harvesters permit from the IDNR. The permit cost will be $250 for Illinois resident commercial fishermen and $3,500 for non-residents.
Also effective Oct. 1, any wholesale aquatic life dealer who wishes to purchase paddlefish, shovelnose sturgeon or bowfin from a commercial roe harvester must first purchase a commercial roe buyers permit from the IDNR. The cost for these permits will be $500 for Illinois resident wholesale aquatic life dealers and $1,500 for non-residents.
Additional regulations regarding shovelnose sturgeon harvest include:
• All commercial shovelnose sturgeon harvest will be closed effective September 1, 2007. (This closure is supported by the Illinois Commercial Fishing Association and is necessary to implement the new regulations that take effect Oct. 1, 2007)
• The sturgeon harvest season will reopen on Oct. 1 thru May 31 for the Mississippi, Wabash and Ohio rivers.
• All other waters have been closed to the harvest of shovelnose sturgeon as these waters provide refuge.
Length limits have also been adopted for these water bodies:
• On the Wabash River, shovelnose sturgeon must be at least 25 inches in length before they can be harvested.
• On the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, shovelnose sturgeon must be at least 24 inches but not more than 32 inches in length before they can be harvested.
A number of additional regulations have been modified regarding attendance to nets, reporting, and point values for selected commercial fishing violations.