Two initiatives of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), carried by State Senator Brian Stewart (R-Freeport) during session earlier this year, have now been signed into law.
Senate Bill 1878 will align the values of bowfin and paddlefish with sturgeon, as all three fish are roe-bearing species. The legislation increases their fair market value or replacement cost from $1 per pound to $4 per pound, which increases criminal penalties for illegal harvesting.
“Paddlefish and bowfin are highly valued for their roe, just like sturgeon,” said Sen. Stewart. “This legislation simply puts the three species on the same value level so infractions against the species can be treated the same.”
Senate Bill 1879 codifies the Fish and Aquatic Life Code with the Wildlife Code by making it clear that it is unlawful for a person to bowfish along, across or from any public right-of-way or highway. Violations against the code will now go toward an individual’s fishing license rather than their hunting license.
“It is unsafe for both the fisherman and motorist to conduct bowfishing from a public road,” Sen. Stewart said. “SB 1879 clears up any misunderstandings and enforcement issues that the public may run into regarding bowfishing from a roadway.”
SB 1878 and SB 1879 were signed into law by Gov. Pritzker on Aug. 13.