197-3 Introduction of aquatic life and wildlife. (a) No species of aquatic life and wildlife shall be deliberately introduced by the department under this chapter into any habitat within the State, whether the introduction is from without the State into the State or from one area in the State into another area in the State unless the introduction is recommended by the department and authorized by rules of the department pursuant to chapter 91.

(b) The department, in determining whether to recommend the deliberate introduction of aquatic life and wildlife, shall make the following findings:

(1) The factors which limit the distribution and abundance of the species in its native habitat have been studied and its probable dispersal pattern appraised;

(2) Whether in the area where the species is proposed to be introduced there is or had been stock of a desirable, ecologically comparable indigenous species which can be increased or rehabilitated by reintroduction or by encouraging extension of its range;

(3) Whether the species proposed to be introduced would threaten the existence and stability of any indigenous species as predator; competitor for food, cover, or breeding sites; or in any other way arising from its characteristics and ecological requirements;

(4) The availability of socially acceptable methods of eliminating the species or keeping it under control in the area where it is proposed to be introduced and in adjoining areas;

(5) The extent to which the species will enhance the economic and aesthetic values of the area where it is proposed to be introduced;

(6) That the individuals to be introduced are free of communicable diseases and parasites and that there is no reason to believe that any communicable disease or parasite constitutes an important factor in the control of population; and

(7) That there is no foreseeable risk of conflict on account of the introduction with land use policies in the area where a species is proposed to be introduced or in adjoining areas to which the species might spread.

(c) Before any species of aquatic life or wildlife is introduced, under this chapter, into a habitat, the suitability of the introduction shall be tested, if there is available an experimental area which can be fully controlled with a habitat typical of the area where the species is proposed to be introduced.

(d) When a species of aquatic life or wildlife is deliberately introduced into a habitat under this section, and until the species becomes established there on a stable basis, the department shall conduct studies of the introduced species in its new habitat, including studies of its rate of spread and impact on the habitat.

(e) Any person who violates this section or any rule adopted pursuant to this section shall be subject to the penalties provided in section 197-5. [L 1985, c 74, pt of 1]


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