Commission Denies Petition To Close Turtle Harvest

LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission voted today to formally deny the petition of a complete closure on turtle harvest and heard the first reading of six new regulations changes aimed at managing the commercial harvest of turtles in the state.

The six proposed changes are:

  •     To cap the sale of annual commercial turtle harvest-related permit holders to 150 per year for 2019-2021;
  •     Require submission of at least one report per harvester per year in order to renew a commercial harvester or dealer permit;
  •     Close the Gulf Coastal Plain to commercial aquatic turtle harvest;
  •     Close the St. Francis River in Greene and Clay counties to commercial aquatic turtle harvest;
  •     Prohibit the harvest of razorback musk turtles, and
  •     Clarify that anyone holding wild caught aquatic turtles for commercial transfer purposes must have an Aquatic Turtle Dealer Permit.

The petition to completely eliminate commercial harvest of wild turtles in Arkansas was submitted to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission from the Center for Biological Diversity. It was added to the AGFC’s online public comment survey during the regular fisheries regulation-setting process. Results of that survey were discussed in detail during Commission committee meetings held in August.    MORE

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