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Requirements & Law
Help reduce the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species

Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) may be microscopic and can be plants or animals. AIS have the potential to cause significant economic and ecologic harm to our waterways by competing with native and game species for space and food. Anglers, boaters, swimmers and others who contact this water can unknowingly spread AIS.

  • Do not move or release animals or plants to other waterways.
  • Dispose of unwanted fishing bait in the trash.
Clean Your Gear!
Before leaving this waterway, check for and remove any aquatic life (plants and animals), mud and other organic debris.
Clean Your Gear!Use the following AIS disinfection methods before using your gear or equipment at a new waterway:

Small Gear

  • For a minimum of 20 minutes, soak gear in hot water (120°-140° F) (may damage Gor-tex®) containing 1 cup of regular dish detergent per gallon of water OR freeze gear for at least 8 hours.
  • After cleaning or freezing, allow gear to dry for a minimum of 48 hours before next use.
  • Consider using your gear in only one waterway, thus eliminating the need to disinfect.

Boats and Heavy Equipment

  • Before leaving this waterway, drain water from boat, motor, bilges, bladder tanks, live bait wells, any other wet compartments and portable bait containers.
  • Use a steam spray unit to thoroughly clean all parts of the boat or heavy equipment (including all wet compartments such as the bilge, bait compartments and storage bunkers). If steam cleaning is not available, use a high pressure hot water sprayer. If these cleaning options are not available, put your boat through a hot water car wash.
  • Thoroughly spray all parts of a boat trailer and towing vehicle that contact the water.
  • Thoroughly flush the cooling system of all boat motors.
  • After cleaning, allow equipment to dry for at least 48 hours.
Areas of your boat to check
Aquatic Invasive Species
Round Goby
Round Goby
Asian Carp

Bighead, silver and black carp are Asian carp* that are Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS). It is unlawful to possess, introduce or import, transport, sell, purchase, offer for sale or barter these species in Pennsylvania. These species pose a significant threat to the biodiversity of native species and habitat, along with imposing safety risks to boaters.

Asian carp have had a devastating impact in the Mississippi River system and now pose this threat to the Great Lakes basin. As AIS species, these fish do not naturally occur in Pennsylvania waters and would only occur if transported and released.

These carp species are a threat due to there large size (some can grow to more than 100 pounds and five feet in length), reproductive success, habitat damage and large, year-round food consumption. In additon, silver carp, when startled, can jump up to 10 feet out of the water striking boaters, causing severe injury.

For more information and to report sightings or catches of these fish species and other AIS, visit PFBC’s AIS web page at:

*Grass carp are also known as Asian carp. Diploid grass carp are banned from stocking in Pennsylvania, but triploid (sterile) grass carp are allowed to be stocked in lakes and ponds with a PFBC-approved permit.

A Call to Action!
In response to the growing threat of nonnative aquatic species, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has developed a series of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Action Plans. These plans address the growing concerns of non-native species introductions into Pennsylvania’s waters. These invading species have a direct effect on our environment, economy and, sometimes, our health. Once these non-native species are introduced, they exploit their surrounding resources and directly affect the recreational sportfish populations, which then affect anglers and the recreational fishing industry.

Prevention is the key!

As a responsible angler, read these plans and learn to identify these species. The plans provide the blueprint for actions required to attain goals for the management of seven AIS in Pennsylvania. The action plans are living documents and will be updated to reflect progress toward those goals and to incorporate new information. If anglers or boaters see these invaders in Pennsylvania waters, report them to the Commission immediately, so we can respond rapidly and effectively. For more information and to view AIS Action Plans, please visit the PFBC “Aquatic Invasive Species” web page.

If you see Aquatic Invasive Species in Pennsylvania waterways, report them here:

Northern Snakehead vs. Bowfin
Northern Snakehead Bowfin
  • The northern snakehead is native to China, and possibly Korea and Russia.
  • Northern snakeheads grow to a maximum length of about 33 inches.
  • Generally tan in appearance, with dark brown mottling; body somewhat elongated; long dorsal fin; jaws contain numerous canine-like teeth (similar to pike or pickerel).
  • Capable of breathing air using an air bladder that works as a primitive lung (not found in most fish).
  • Able to hibernate in cracks and crevices during cold temperatures and to go dormant in the mud during droughts.
  • Voracious top-level predator, eating mostly fish, but also eats other aquatic wildlife and frogs.
  • Capable of moving short distances on land using its pectoral fins and can live out of water for as many as three days.
  • Species have been found in Pennsylvania, probably the result of releases from individuals.
  • Catch and release is strongly encouraged.
  • A candidate species in Pennsylvania.
  • Grows to a maximum length of about 32 inches.
  • Generally tan-olive in appearance, with dark olive reticulation; body somewhat elongated; long dorsal fin; bony scales; jaws contain small canine and peglike teeth; black spot at the base of the tail (more prominent in males).
  • Capable of breathing surface air using an air bladder as a lung (not found in most fish).
  • Able to withstand periodic droughts by going dormant in the mud.

Why Should You Care?
Invasive species like sna ke heads have significant impacts in the Pennsylvania, including:

  • Impacts to lo cal fish populations through predation or displacement and competition for food; disr uption of native aquatic systems.
  • Transmission of parasites or diseases, including those affecting humans.
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