Subject 391-4-16 FRESH-WATER TURTLE REGULATIONS
The purpose of these regulations is to establish procedures for the export, farming and sale of native fresh-water turtles pursuant to O.C.G.A. 27-3-19.1. The following regulations prescribe the rules and regulations necessary to administer the export, farming, and sale of native fresh-water turtles under sound wildlife management practices.
|(1)|| As used in
these rules and regulations, the term:
|(1)|| It is unlawful for any person to export
native fresh-water turtles without a valid commercial turtle farming permit
issued by the department.
|(2)|| It is unlawful for any person
to possess more than ten (10) native fresh-water turtles without a valid
commercial turtle farming permit issued by the department.
|(3)||It is unlawful for any person to collect any native fresh-water turtle eggs from the wild.|
|(4)|| It is unlawful for any
person to sell, hold for sale, or to distribute viable native fresh-water
turtle eggs or live fresh-water turtles with a carapace length less than 4
inches unless for export from the state or otherwise authorized by a permit in
accordance with O.C.G.A.
27-2-12 and O.C.G.A.
27-2-13. Nothing in this Chapter
shall be construed to be in conflict with any federal law or regulation,
1240.62. It is unlawful to import live native
fresh-water turtles or the eggs of such from another state unless such turtles
or eggs were lawfully acquired in accordance with the laws and regulations of
that state. Provided further that the following requirements shall also be met:
|(5)||Nothing in this Chapter shall be construed to authorize the taking of any species which is protected under the federal Endangered Species Act of 1973, P.L. 93-205, as amended, or under any state law which has as its purpose the protection of endangered or threatened species.|
|(1)|| Application for
a commercial turtle farming permit shall be submitted on forms provided by the
department and may be submitted at any time. The permit year is from April 1 to
|(2)||Prior to issuing a commercial turtle farming permit to an individual who intends to operate a turtle farm, department personnel shall inspect the facilities and/or review the specifications of proposed facilities to ensure such facilities meet the requirements of 391-4-16-.07.|
|(3)||A commercial turtle farming permit shall not be issued to any person who has been convicted within the past five (5) years of any violation of O.C.G.A. Title 27.|
|(4)||In accordance with O.C.G.A. 27-4-90 and 27-4-91, and as provided for in O.C.G.A. 27-2-23, a commercial fishing license shall be an eligibility requirement for a commercial turtle farming permit.|
|(1)||The department may issue a "catch out" authorization for private ponds that allows a nuisance wildlife control operator to remove native fresh-water turtles and such turtles shall not be subject to the limits established in this paragraph.|
|(2)||Commercial turtle farming permit holders may annually stock up to two hundred (200) native, wild caught fresh-water turtles into a Georgia turtle farm, including up to one hundred (100) turtles provided from authorized "catch outs", notwithstanding other special permits as issued by the department.|
Any person holding a valid commercial turtle farming permit may acquire live native fresh-water turtles from any source or direct trapping of wild-caught fresh-water turtles in accordance with O.C.G.A. 27-4-91, provided that such turtles have been lawfully taken. Such acquisition shall be documented in accordance with 391-4-16.08(2)(g) and maintained onsite.
|(1)|| Outdoor facilities including, but not
limited to, breeding ponds, grow-out ponds, holding ponds, and nesting areas
shall meet the following conditions:
Indoor housing facilities shall meet the following conditions:
|(3)||All indoor and outdoor facilities shall be in compliance with applicable provisions of O.C.G.A. 27-5-6.|
|(1)|| Any person possessing a valid commercial
turtle farming permit issued by the department shall maintain accurate and
complete written records and documentation on each transaction of a commercial
enterprise involving native fresh-water turtles. Such records shall include the
source, species, age class (hatchling, juvenile or adult), and sex of each
turtle. Such records shall be made available to department personnel for
inspection at their request.
|(2)|| Any person
possessing a valid commercial turtle farming permit issued by the department
shall submit annually to the department not later than March 1 a report that
shall, where applicable, include:
|(1)||Department personnel may, at any time, inspect turtle farms, including importation and exportation shipments, turtles, eggs, records, lands, facilities and any other equipment that may be used in the production, processing, or transportation of turtles, turtle eggs, or turtle products.|
|(2)|| A turtle farm
inspection may include a complete census or scientific survey of the turtle
stock by the department under the following conditions:
|(3)||A permitted turtle farmer shall cooperate fully should an inventory or census be required by the department.|