1 - C.23:2A-4.1

 


P.L.2016, CHAPTER 17, approved July 15, 2016

Assembly, No. 2949

 

 


An Act concerning diamondback terrapins and supplementing P.L.1973, c.309 (C.23:2A-1 et seq.).

 

Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

1. a. Notwithstanding any law, rule, or regulation to the contrary, the diamondback terrapin shall be designated as a nongame indigenous species and shall be subject to the laws, rules, and regulations governing the importation, care, possession, and breeding of that type of animal in the State.

b. Any diamondback terrapin, including any nest or egg thereof, shall be protected by the Department of Environmental Protection, any other State agency, and any local governmental entity in the same manner and to the same extent as any nongame species of reptile indigenous to the State that is protected by "The Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act," P.L.1973, c.309 (C.23:2A-1 et seq.), any other applicable State law, or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto.

c. The commissioner shall investigate populations, distribution, habitat needs, limiting factors, and other biological and ecological data concerning the State's diamondback terrapin population to determine management measures necessary for their continued ability to sustain themselves successfully. On the basis of such determinations, the commissioner shall develop management programs which shall be designed to insure the continued ability of the State's diamondback terrapin population to perpetuate themselves successfully.

 

2. This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

This bill provides the protection afforded by "The Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act" to the diamondback terrapin.

The bill designates the diamondback terrapin as a nongame indigenous species subject to the same laws, rules, and regulations governing other nongame indigenous reptiles in the State. As a result of this designation, it would no longer be legal to catch or take diamondback terrapin in New Jersey. The bill also requires the Commissioner of Environmental Protection to investigate biological and ecological data concerning the State's diamondback terrapin population and determine management measures necessary for the continued viability of the State's diamondback terrapin population.

The diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin or Malaclemys palustris) is native to New Jersey and inhabits the State's coastal salt marshes and estuaries along the Atlantic Coast and Delaware Bay. Habitat loss and road mortality pose major threats to the health of the population. Each year, hundreds of terrapins are killed by motor vehicle, particularly in summer months when females actively search for suitable nest sites. Affording the diamondback terrapin protection as a nongame indigenous species subject to "The Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act" will help encourage conservation of the species and its habitats.

 

 

                                

 

Provides diamondback terrapins protection as nongame indigenous species.