Clarification of New Drain Plug Removal Regulation

AGFC Fisheries Division staff have received numerous questions regarding the new regulation that went into effect January 1, 2021 regarding the mandatory removal of boat drain plugs, which includes things like livewell, ballast tanks, etc. Code 37.10 reads as follows:
All aquatic vessel drain plug(s), including, but not limited to, bilges, livewells, baitwells and ballast tanks, must be removed before and during trailering of vessel to and from waterbody access facilities.
EXCEPTIONS:
1. Fishing tournament officials may submit a request to AGFC Fisheries Division for written permission to allow for the transport of fish to an offsite weigh station. All participants must be given a copy of the permit.
2. Transportation of baitfish is allowed in compliance with Code 26.27.
PENALTY: Class 1
This is a regulation that was already in place in 21 other states across the U.S. to help stop the spread of aquatic nuisance species (ANS). As ANS such as silver carp, giant salvinia, zebra mussels, and more continue to spread across our state, AGFC has a responsibility to put mechanisms in place to slow their spread. This is one of many actions that AGFC has undertaken recently. However, at the end of the day, it is the boaters of Arkansas (including anglers, hunters, and recreational boaters) that will have the greatest impact on slowing the spread of ANS to other waters in Arkansas. So we ask for your help by simply removing any plugs from your boat that hold water before you leave a boat ramp parking lot.
To submit a fishing tournament exception, please email Fisheries Biologist Jeff Buckingham at Jeffrey.Buckingham@agfc.ar.gov. Please note that certain requirements will have to be met to qualify for an exception
For a copy of the 2021 AGFC Fishing Regulations Guidebook, which includes a summary of the new 2021 fisheries regulations, click here: https://drive.google.com/…/13IP52QbSee8…/view