2014 Regulations Update
the Ozarks and Truman Lake have a long history of quality catfish angling. But the overabundance of smaller blue catfish and the overharvest of large blue catfish are keeping many blue cats from reaching a large size. To improve blue catfish populations in Lake of the Ozarks, Truman Lake, and their tributaries, blue catfish 26 to 34 inches long must be returned to the water unharmed immediately after being caught, and an angler’s daily limit may not contain more than two blue catfish longer than 34 inches. In addition, the daily and possession limit for blue catfish on these waters will be 10. The new regulations will offer an increased daily limit to promote the harvest of smaller blue catfish to help reduce their competition for food and resources with larger blue cats. The new rules will also protect larger blue catfish so they can reach their growth potential and allow a limited harvest of trophy blues longer than 34 inches. Population modeling predicts that, given time, these regulations will help Lake of the Ozarks and Truman Lake support five times more blue catfish 34 inches and larger than they do now.
How Regulations Are Set
Each year, the Conservation Department’s Regulations Committee reviews the Wildlife Code to ensure Missouri’s forests, fish, and wildlife are protected. Here’s how the process works.
- Changes proposed by the public and Department staff are brought to the Committee to review.
- The Committee researches the effects of the proposed regulation changes. Information reviewed may include costs to taxpayers, effects on wildlife populations, user group surveys, public comments, and feasibility studies.
- When research shows a change would improve a natural resource or provide more opportunities for Missourians to enjoy nature without detrimental effects to natural resources, a proposed regulation change is sent to the Conservation Department’s director.
- If the director approves the change, the proposal is submitted to the Conservation Commission, a group of four citizens who are appointed by the governor.
- If passed by the Conservation Commission, the proposed changes are filed with the secretary of state and published in the Missouri Register. A link to the Register can be found at mdc.mo.gov/node/4871.
- Publication of proposed changes in the Missouri Register begins a 30-day public comment period. If no comments are received, the final regulation is filed and becomes effective on the date specified in the proposal or 30 days after publication in the Missouri Code of State Regulations.
- When comments are received, the proposal is reviewed. Based on the public’s comments and available research data, the Commission may decide to drop, modify, or implement the regulation.
We Want Your Input
Citizen participation has been the cornerstone of conservation efforts in Missouri since the Department was formed in 1937. To offer input on the Wildlife Code of Missouri, visit mdc.mo.gov/node/24751. Once there, you can:
- Sign up for email alerts about regulation changes.
- Read the full text of each chapter of the Wildlife Code.
- Offer suggestions on how the Department can improve existing regulations.
To see a list of regulations the Department is proposing to amend and offer your comments on the proposed changes, visit mdc.mo.gov/node/24141.