Invasive Aquatic Species

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Help us Keep it Maine: Protect our Waters from Invasive Species

Maine has some of the country’s most pristine and healthy waters, which support high-quality habitat for fish and wildlife as well as endless opportunities for outdoor recreation. On our inland waters, anglers can fish for native brook trout, Arctic charr, landlocked salmon, and lake trout, just to name a few.

Unfortunately, Maine waters, as well as the fish, wildlife, and recreation they support, are threatened each year by introductions of fish, plants, diseases, and other aquatic hitchhikers that compete with and displace native natural communities.

What can be done?

Once an invasive aquatic species has established in a body of water, it is extremely difficult for it to be eradicated. These efforts are costly, often risky, and not always successful.

Therefore, prevention is key. It’s our duty as those who enjoy using Maine’s waters to protect them against invasive species.

Do your part: Protect Maine Waters from Invasive Species

  • Under Maine law, you must immediately kill any fish that you decide to keep, and never transport any live fish (other than legal baitfish).
  • Make sure you are using legal baitfish species. See the Baitfish Information section for a quick guide to identifying legal and illegal species.
  • Don’t dump your bait! Properly dispose of unused baitfish on land or in the trash. Never release any live baitfish into a water body.
  • Never import any fish species into Maine without a permit. This is illegal. Just because you can buy something from an online retailer, doesn’t mean it’s legal to import or possess here in Maine.
  • Never introduce fish or fish eggs into any inland water, including private, small, artificially-constructed ponds, without a permit. MDIFW does issue permits to allow for safe and appropriate private pond stocking. Applicants must show that the stocking will not create adverse risks to native species, and that fish will come from pre-approved and licensed private hatcheries.
  • Before leaving and launching your boat:
    • CLEAN plant debris, mud, and algae from all boating and fishing gear and dispose in the trash.
    • DRAIN bilge water, engine water, and any other standing water sources at a location that will not drain directly into state waters.
    • DRY any gear that touches water. Thorough drying and exposure to sunlight will disinfect surfaces and kill many hitchhiking invaders.
  • Do not transport any aquatic plants on watercraft or equipment (including trailers, anchors, nets, etc.). Fines can be up to $2,500 for transporting any aquatic plant and up to $500 for failing to affix the Lake and River Protection Sticker to your motorized craft. If you see or suspect someone is moving live fish, contact the Maine Warden Service immediately at 1-800-ALERT-US or report the offense at MaineOGT.org For more information on invasive aquatic plants, please visit: maine.gov/dep/water/ invasives.

If you see or suspect someone is moving live fish, contact the Maine Warden Service immediately at 1-800-ALERT-US or report the offense at www.MaineOGT.org. For more information on invasive aquatic plants please visit: www.maine.gov/dep/water/invasives.

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