Why Is It Illegal To Sell Crappie? 2 Reasons

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You can find all sorts of lures and baits designed specifically for crappie fishing. Moreover, there are plenty of crappie fishing guides out there, as well as people willing to provide you with info about crappie hotspots. Therefore, it is really quite odd that it is illegal to sell crappie. So why is it illegal to sell crappie?

The main reason why it is illegal to sell crappie is they are classed as a wild species of fish, meaning they cannot be caught and sold for commercial purposes.  Some Crappie can live in waters that are contaminated with various substances which are not safe for human consumption, however, these cases are pretty low and the vast majority of Crappie are safe to eat. 

What Is A Crappie Fish?

a crappie fish

The crappie, also known as the Poxomis Rafinesque, is a specific type of freshwater fish that can be found all throughout North America. The crappie is a part of the sunfish family of fish, Centrarchidae.

These fish are also a very popular pan fish, a name that a certain group of fish have earned due to the fact that they rarely outgrow the size of a frying pan.

Crappie fish are expected to grow to around 10 years of age at the most, and can reach an average of 12” to 14”, and can weigh as much as two pounds. The largest crappie ever caught on record was a whopping 5.46 pounds, in Tennessee. 

Reasons Why It Is Illegal To Sell Crappie

It is really funny to think about the fact that there is a whole section of the recreational fishing industry that is focused on allowing anglers to catch the crappie fish.

You can find tons of online resources and guides about every single aspect of crappie fishing, plus you can find all sorts of lures and gear designed for this specific purpose too.

However, when you go to your local supermarket or fish market, you won’t be able to buy a single crappie, and the same goes for any and all of your local restaurants too.

No, you won’t be able to buy any crappie anywhere, and yes, this is because it is not legal to sell this fish, but why is this the case?

There are two main reasons why. 

1. Possible Contaminants

The number one reason why is it is illegal to sell crappie is due to the fact that these fish can live in waters that are contaminated with various substances such as heavy metal and other poisons which can get into the fish and then into the human that eats them.

Now, crappie is not a banned fish species, and it is not illegal to eat it by any means.

Moreover, most studies indicate that the vast majority of crappie is very safe to eat for humans. In other words, the chances of crappie being contaminated with poisonous substances that may negatively impact human health are fairly minimal.

However, with that being said, there have been more than one case where crappie had been contaminated to the point where it may cause negative health effects for anyone who consumes it.

2. Prevention Of Commercial Fishing

An equally valid reason why crappie cannot be bought in stores is that crappie is classified as a wild species of fish.

Wild species of fish cannot be caught and sold for commercial purposes. So, while it is perfectly legal for you to go fish for crappie and fry up as many as you feel like for dinner, it is not legal for you to go sell them.

It is also totally illegal for any commercial fishing entity to fish for crappie in bulk and sell them to retail outlets.

The simple fact of the matter here is that oceans have been depleted of fish and it is all because of overfishing.

In other words, the reason why crappie cannot be bought in stores are because they are not a commercial type of fish, but a wild game fish, and just like deer and moose, which are game animals, they cannot be bought and sold in stores.

When it comes down to it, it’s all about preventing the commercialization of various freshwater lakes for the purposes of fishing, not only to preserve the environment but also to protect fish stocks and the food chain overall. 

Do Crappie Taste Good?

Whether or not you like the crappie fish is of course a matter of personal preference and nothing else.

The crappie fish is known for having very sweet white meat, which is quite tender and soft. It can be slightly chewy.

Although many people do like the light sweet taste of it, the simple reality is that many people feel that crappie is actually far too bland and tasteless.

That said, people do tend to really like this dish if it is well seasoned and well cooked, but it’s just not a type of fish that has an overwhelming amount of flavor on its own. 

Are Crappie Safe to Eat?

OK, so we did mention that one of the reasons why crappie is not legal to sell and buy in stores is due to the fact that they may possibly be contaminated.

However, the FDA and other such entities ruled that crappie is edible and safe to eat. It is just paramount that you do some research in terms of the water where you were fishing.

The reason why people assume that crappie may not be safe to eat is that the FDA and other such entities have set that the water which they swim in are partially unregulated and may therefore contain camera contaminants that are absorbed by the fish, and then those who eat the fish.

However, instances of this occurring are very rare and in most cases, there will be notifications informing people that it is not safe to fish or swim in these waters. 99.9% of cases crappie is perfectly safe to eat.

Why Can’t You Buy Crappie in the Store?

As talked about in great detail now, you cannot buy crappie in stores because it is illegal to buy or sell fish that are classified as game animals, mainly to prevent massive commercial fisheries from depleting fish stocks, as well as due to the possible contamination of crappie living in subpar water conditions. 



The bottom line here is that crappie does taste pretty good and thousands of people fish for them each year.

While you won’t be making any profits by selling them, you can certainly fry or grill some up for dinner no problem.