Code of the District of Columbia

§ 8–103.03. Protection of aquatic life.

(a) While regulating against water pollution and except as provided in subsection (d) of this section, the Mayor shall protect aquatic animals and plants, and shall preserve and restore aquatic life in District waters for aesthetic enjoyment, for recreation, and for industry.

(b)(1) The Mayor shall study the number and the well-being of aquatic plants and animals, and shall determine the need to license or otherwise limit fishing and other forms of hunting, sports or industry which take or destroy aquatic life or the aquatic habitat. The Mayor shall consider the economic impact upon the various segments of the public before establishing fees for licenses.

(2) No person shall hunt, fish, capture, intentionally harm or attempt to hunt, fish, capture, or intentionally harm fish in District waters, except while in physical possession of a license issued by the Mayor. The Mayor may establish and modify, through administrative orders, the seasons, methods, species, and allowable volume of take for fishing; provided, that if the Mayor issues an administrative order pursuant to this paragraph, the Mayor, pursuant to Chapter 5 of Title 2, shall first issue rules outlining how the administrative orders will be made public, which shall include a website where the public may access up-to-date information about seasons, methods, species, and volume of take authorized pursuant to this section.

(3) Repealed.

(c) The Mayor may enter into agreements with state and federal agencies to manage and protect aquatic life.

(d) The Mayor may protect against aquatic life which creates a nuisance in the District.


(Mar. 16, 1985, D.C. Law 5-188, § 4, 32 DCR 919; Mar. 8, 2006, D.C. Law 16-57, § 2, 53 DCR 12; May 19, 2017, D.C. Law 21-282, § 313(a), 64 DCR 2055.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-923.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 16-57 rewrote subsec. (b)(3) which had read as follows: “(3) Revenues from a licensing regulatory scheme under this section shall be used only for protecting and managing aquatic life.”

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Water Pollution Control Emergency Amendment Act of 2004 (D.C. Act 15-655, December 29, 2004, 52 DCR 477).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Water Pollution Control Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2005 (D.C. Act 16-54, March 17, 2005, 52 DCR 3172).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Water Pollution Control Emergency Amendment Act of 2005 (D.C. Act 16-201, November 17, 2005, 52 DCR 10509).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Water Pollution Control Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-280, February 27, 2006, 53 DCR 1626).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Water Pollution Control Temporary Amendment Act of 2004 (D.C. Law 15-321, April 8, 2005, law notification 52 DCR 4710).