RULE 002.00.18-011 - Aquatic Turtle Regluations

RULE 002.00.18-011. Aquatic Turtle Regluations

Proposed Code Changes to Aquatic Turtle Harvest 15 November 2018


The following conditions shall be met to qualify for and maintain an Aquatic Turtle Farmer

Permit, Aquatic Turtle Dealer Permit, or Alligator Snapping Turtle Breeder/Dealer Permit. An Aquatic Turtle Dealer Permit is required if wild caught turtles are held in tanks, ponds, etc. for any length of time for commercial purposes.

(A) A site plan must be provided with the permit application, including legal and physical descriptions of all facilities, and a sketch map showing the location and approximate size of all ponds, impoundments, tanks, etc. used to hold or propagate aquatic turtles.

(B) All sites shall be inspected and approved by Commission personnel prior to issuance of a permit.

(C) Holding ponds, impoundments, tanks, etc. shall be fenced and maintained in such a manner as to prevent the egress of captives and ingress of wild stock.

(D) Facilities shall be subject to random inspection by Commission personnel.

(E) Permittees shall follow all transaction and reporting requirements for harvest of wild-caught turtles in compliance with Code 34.07.

PENALTY: Class 3


(A) It is unlawful to take or attempt to take aquatic turtle eggs from the wild.

(B) It is unlawful to take or attempt to take aquatic turtles for commercial purposes by any means other than hoop nets or box type (basking) turtle traps.

(C) It is unlawful to possess commercial aquatic turde harvest gear in closed waters. Commercial aquatic turtle harvest is allowed in the following counties, and/or bodies of water as specified:

1. Arkansas, Ashley, Chicot (Exception 1), Clay (Exception 1), Craighead, Crittenden (Exception 1), Cross, Desha, Drew (Exception 1), Greene (Exception 1), Independence (Exception 1), Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence (Exception 1), Lee, Lincoln, Lonoke, Mississippi, Monroe, Phillips, Poinsett, Prairie, Pulaski, Randolph (Exception 1), St. Francis, White and Woodruff counties;

2. Arkansas River, from its mouth to the Arkansas/ Oklahoma state line, excluding waters within Lake Dardanelle from: north of the Union Pacific Railroad in Franklin, Johnson, and Pope counties; Dardanelle Bay in Yell County; Delaware Bay south of Arkansas Flighway 22, and south of signs posted on Shoal Bay, Cane Creek Bay, and Six Mile Creek at O'Kane Island access in Logan County.

3. Black River from its mouth to the Missouri state line;

4. White River from its mouth to the mouth of the Black River.

5. Arkansas waters between the main levees of the Mississippi River.

(D) When a river or stream forms the boundary between opened and closed areas, that boundary segment shall be closed to tackle legal in the open area.


(1) The following waters are closed to commercial aquatic turtle harvest:

(a) Bayou Meto Bayou in compliance with Code 38.01.

(b) All waters owned by: Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, U.S. Forest Service, Arkansas State Parks, and Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission.

(c) Horseshoe Lake (Crittenden County);

(d) Lake Wallace (Drew and Chicot counties);

(e) Upper and Lower Lake Chicot (Connerly Bayou to Ditch Bayou Dam inclusive) (Chicot County).

(f) St. Francis River (Clay and Greene counties)

(g) Eleven Point River (Randolph County)

(h) Spring River (Lawrence and Randolph counties)

(i) Strawberry River (Lawrence County)

(j) White River above Dam 1 at Batesville (Independence County)

(k) Property-owner association and municipally owned lakes, only with written approval.

(2) Private landowners, in closed counties, can obtain from the Commission, a Private Land Commercial Aquatic Turtle Permit. This permit allows the harvest of Common Snapping Turtles {Chelydra serpentina), Redear Sliders (Trachemys scripta), and Spiny Softshells {Apalone spinifera) for commercial purposes on private property under the following conditions:

(a) Only from manmade lakes and ponds

(b) Only by a licensed commercial aquatic turtle harvest or dealer permittee

(c) Only with legal commercial turtle harvest gear as defined above

(d) All harvested turtles shall be reported on aquatic turtle harvest report forms as specified in Code 34.07.

PENALTY: Class 2; Second offense shall result in the revocation of the permit.


(A) It is unlawful for aquatic turtle harvest, junior aquatic turtle harvest, and aquatic turtle dealer permittees to fail to mail or deliver to the Commission on or before the 10th of each month a legibly completed and itemized aquatic turtle harvest form provided by the Commission for all wild-caught aquatic turtles harvested during the prior month. A copy of this form shall be retained by the permittee for a period of 12 months and made available for inspection by any agent of the Commission.

(B) Aquatic turtle harvest, aquatic turtle dealer, non-resident turtle dealer, aquatic turtle farmer, and alligator snapping turtle breeder/dealer permittees must comply with the following:

(1) An invoice, bill of sale or true bill of lading must accompany all turtle sales shipped or transported in intrastate or interstate commerce to the final destination and must contain the following information:

(a) Name, address, and telephone number of buyer and seller;

(b) Permit number of seller, and,

(c) Number and species of turtles in shipment.

(2) Permittees may have turtles transported by their authorized representatives if accompanied with a true bill of lading or bill of sale as described above.

(C) It is unlawful for alligator snapping turtle breeder/dealer permittees to fail to mail or deliver to the Commission by the 10th of each month a legibly completed, itemized transaction record of all alligator snapping turtles purchased, sold, bartered, traded, or transferred during the prior month transactions were made. This transaction record shall include the names, addresses and phone numbers of all persons involved in the sale, purchase, barter, trade or transfer of alligator snapping turtles. Transaction records shall be recorded on a form provided by the Commission.

(D) To be eligible to renew commercial aquatic turtle harvester and dealer permits, all permittees must submit a minimum of one harvest report form annually even if it shows zero take for the year.

PENALTY: Class 2; Second offense shall result in the revocation of the permit.


It is unlawful to kill, take, or attempt to take chicken turtles {Deirochelys reticularia) and razorback musk turtles {Sternotherus carinatus), their eggs or other parts from the wild. EXCEPTION:

Chicken turtles in legal possession as of Jan. 1, 2006 and their progeny thereafter in compliance with Codes 34.02; 34.04. PENALTY: Class 2


It is unlawful to import alligator snapping turtles, razorback musk turtles, and chicken turtles into Arkansas.

PENALTY: Class 3


The following state regulations pages link to this page.