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Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS)
Didymo (photo - Tim Daley, PA DEP), round goby, zebra mussels, purple loosestrife and an albino red-eared slider turtle
Report AISAquatic invasive species (AIS) (also referred to a aquatic nuisance species or ANS) are aquatic animals and plants that have been introduced into waterways in which they do not live naturally. They have harmful effects on the natural resources in these ecosystems and the human uses of these resources.

In addition to the banned species below, some of the least-wanted AIS in Pennsylvania are: European ruffe, sea lamprey, hydrilla, spiny water flea, purple loosestrife, Eurasian watermilfoil, Asian clam, and red-eared slider (turtle). In 2004, northern snakehead were first found in Pennsylvania waters.

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.

Aquatic species banned in Pennsylvania (sale, barter, possession or transportation)
  • Biodiversity -- The variety of species, their genetic makeup, and the natural communities in which they occur.
  • Introduced species -- A species living outside of its natural geographic range. Can be deliberately or accidentally introduced or brought into the new ecosystem. Also called exotic, non-native, nuisance or invasive species.
  • Invasive -- Spreading or taking over. Invasive species often take over or dominate a habitat.
  • Native -- An animal or plant originating in a region or geographic range. For example, brook trout are native to Pennsylvania.
STOP 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 on cleaning boats and gear, viist our Clean Your Gear page.

Aquatic Invasive Species
Featured topics
Report AIS
Clean your gear
Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS)
AIS Action Plans
Related topics
AIS regulations – Summary Book
Species approved for propagation
Threatened & endangered species
PA Angler & Boater articles
Non-PFBC Pages
Didymo poster
Snakehead identification poster
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