Comment on proposed Arkansas fishing regulations changes

Bass fishing at Miracle Mallard Duck Club on Wolf lake with Lynn Burnett and John Boone

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is asking for public comments on possible changes to fishing regulations for 2021. Changes to general fishing rules, rules for commercial anglers and fish farms are all being evaluated before the Fisheries Division formally proposes them to the Commission in August. The AGFC posted a survey to gather public input in May which will close July 17.

Ben Batten, chief of fisheries for the AGFC, says some proposed changes are the result of a continued effort to engage the public and modify fishing regulations where possible to accommodate angler preferences.

“We get many suggestions for regulations changes from the public throughout the year,” Batten said. “Some of those requests are not compatible with the resource, and others may not be preferred by the majority of anglers and other stakeholders involved in the fishery, but we do see changes nearly every regulations cycle that originated from the public.”

Batten said biologists also provide potential regulations changes based on biological sampling data, creel surveys and other tools to monitor a fishery’s productivity and potential.

“Biologists are monitoring our waters year-round, and when they see shortfalls or opportunities, they look to get feedback from the public on how some regulations may be received,” Batten said. “We work for the public, but our number one job is to maintain or benefit the resource on their behalf.”

Batten says an additional emphasis has been placed on simplifying and standardizing regulations where possible.

“Over the years, some regulations have become outdated or cumbersome for the public to understand,” Batten said. “We are really making an effort to clean up some of these areas in the code to make things a bit more straightforward.”

A survey to gather public opinion on proposed general fishing and commercial fishing proposals is available at www.agfc.com.

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