I just spoke to a Fisheries Biologist at a local state
park regarding the laws for mussel shell collecting
He said that it *used* to be that one could collect
mussels without any problem. Then it was discovered
that people were using mussels "illegally" including
using the meat to bait trot lines. Also, several of them
were endangered. Hence, they instituted a blanket ban
on mussel (whole, shell or parts) collecting and possession
to make it simple to enforce the rules.
As for collecting them in Wisconsin and bringing them
back to Illinois - he said that pretty much the same
rules which apply to caught fish would apply for mussels.
(I am not familiar with these rules).
He also mentioned that if a law enforcement officer would
stop me and I had a few shells in my possession, then it would
be up to the discretion of the officer about how to charge me.
More than likely, a few shells would not matter. But, if the
officer is having a bad day and decides to be strict, who knows?
So, it would appear that to be on the safe side, I will not
be displaying any F/W shells in my tanks. So, to the kind folks
who offerred to get me some shells, I thank you but regret that
I can't take you up on your offer while I live in Illinois :).
However, a NANFA member from FL has offered to send me some
neat S/W oyster shells which I appreciate. I could get some
locally from the grocery but I don't like the taste, texture of
oysters or mussels and the meat would have gone to waste.
(I tried both, I just don't like them).
As for inane or silly regulations, I can't quite
bring myself to break them when I know I am not supposed to.
It's a matter of personal ethics - nothing else. If I was not
aware of the regulations, then I would have collected shells.
But, now that I know that I am not supposed to collect them,
I will not.
(in snowed in McHenry County, Illinois)
ps: This thread looks like an item for the 'Riffles'
or even the making of a short article for the 'AC'.
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