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Aquatic invasive species (AIS) (also referred to as aquatic nuisance species or ANS) are aquatic animals and plants that have been introduced into waterways in which they do not live naturally and cause ecological impacts, economic impacts and/or harm to human health. This is in contrast to naturalized species, which are non-native but have reached an equilibrium with the ecosystems in which they occur.

In addition to the banned species below, some of the least-wanted AIS in Pennsylvania are: New Zealand Mudsnail, Northern Snakehead, Sea Lamprey, Hydrilla, Spiny Water Flea, Eurasian Watermilfoil, Asian Clam and Red-eared Slider (turtle).

It's not always "foreign invaders" that are the problem. White perch and flathead catfish are other examples of species that have turned up where they don't belong. While native to some PA watersheds, they have been introduced to other areas where they are not wanted.


Anglers and boaters can be the first line of defense against introducing AIS into new waters. Follow simple steps — check, drain, clean and dry gear — to help prevent the spread of AIS.

    • When retrieving your boat for the day, check the boat, motor and trailer for weeds and other things "tagging along."
    • Wash your boat's hull with hot water or with a high-pressure spray.
    • Drain livewells, bilges and other compartments.
    • Drain all standing water from your boat.
    • Don't dump leftover bait into the water you're fishing, unless you collected the bait there.

For more information on cleaning boats and gear, visit our Clean Your Gear page. Take additional precautions to disinfect gear to prevent the spread of New Zealand Mudsnails.


The following aquatic species are banned in Pennsylvania (sale, barter, possession or transportation).

    • Bighead carp (Hypophtalmichtys nobilis)
    • Black carp (Mylopharyngodon piceus)
    • Crayfish (all species) except when they are either transported:
      (i) As bait on, in or about the water from which taken.
      (ii) For testing and scientific purposes or restaurant consumption, adequate measures have been taken to prevent their escape and they are accompanied by documentation stating the point of origin and the destination to which they are to be delivered.
    • European rudd (Scardinius erythropthalmus)
    • Quagga mussel (Dreissena bugensis)
    • Round goby (Neogobius melanostomus)
    • Ruffe (Gymnocephalus cernuus)
    • Silver carp (Hypophtalmichtys molitrix)
    • Snakehead (all species)
    • Tubenose goby (Proterothinus marmoratus)
    • Zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha)


Spotted Lanternfly Alert - PA Dept. of Agriculture | Spotted Lanternfly - Penn State Extension


View the PFBC's AIS Communication and Outreach Plan