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MDC reminds public to dispose of fish waste responsibly

PHOTO CAPTION: MDC urges the public to be mindful of regulations when disposing of fish-cleaning waste, such as paddlefish (pictured).


Anglers should be mindful of regulations and help keep fishing areas clean.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reminds the public to dispose of waste responsibly when cleaning fish. Each year, MDC receives numerous nuisance complaints of fish-cleaning waste on the banks around public fishing accesses, especially during the paddlefish snagging season. It’s important for anglers to do their part to keep fishing areas clean for others to enjoy.

In addition to using trash receptacles, disposing of fish-cleaning waste back into the water is allowed. Waste should not be piled up near the water’s edge, and instead should be discarded into deeper water or in the flowing part of the stream. This assures waste cannot wash up to the bank or be concentrated in one area.

The Wildlife Code of Missouri states that extracted paddlefish eggs may not be possessed while on the water or adjacent banks and may not be transported. This means paddlefish eggs cannot be transported out into deeper water for disposal.

Most species of fish have daily possession limits and disposing of an entire fish is not only wasteful, but a violation of the Wildlife Code. Entire fish cannot be tossed on a bank or dumped back into the water. Anglers fishing in Missouri waters should have a plan to use the fish they keep.

Maintaining public fishing areas for everyone to use and enjoy requires the help of all citizens. Anyone fishing in Missouri should be mindful of regulations and impacts to others.

For more information on fishing regulations, visit

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