Regulations to Reduce Potential for Introduction of Aquatic Invasive Species
The State of Alaska has regulations and laws to protect our native fish and wildlife. Alaska’s stringent transport laws reduce the potential for intentional introduction of invasive species. It is illegal to stock any type of fish into waters of the state without a permit, release unwanted pets into the wild, and use certain gear-types when fishing or hunting in the Alaska.
Editor’s Note: The following is a summary of regulations pertinent to invasive species excerpted from the official codes on file with the Lieutenant Governor. There may be errors or omissions that have not been identified and changes that have occurred after this publication.
The Department of Fish and Game is responsible for the management of fisheries, wildlife and habitats. State fisheries are managed by the Division of Sport Fish and the Division of Commercial Fisheries. The Division of Habitat implements the state’s authority for Fish Habitat and Special Areas, while management of wildlife is delegated to the Division of Wildlife Conservation. For more information on Alaska regulations visit the Regulations page or for full text of the Administrative Code online, go to the Alaska Administrative Code-Regulations or contact your local Department of Fish and Game office.
Beginning in 2021, regulations prohibit possession, import, propagation, transport, release, purchase, and/or sale of organisms listed as banned invasive species without a permit. Examples of the banned invasive species includes signal crayfish, red swamp crayfish, yellow perch, zebra mussels, quagga mussels, American bullfrogs, Asian carp, and New Zealand mudsnails.
Non-native species are categorized as banned invasive species if they are able to:
- Survive and establish sustainable populations in Alaska;
- Compete with native species for food, habitat, or resources;
- Degrade habitat;
- Transmit diseases;
- Threaten the health of or a population of native species, or
- Cause economic or environmental harm.
See Alaska regulation 5 AAC 41.075 for more detailed information and a complete list of banned invasive species or view our FAQ about banned invasive species.
Preventing Invasive Species Introductions
A person may not take, possess, transport, sell, offer to sell, purchase, or offer to purchase wild fish, game, or marine aquatic plants, or any part of wild fish, game, or aquatic plants, or nest or egg of fish or game.
- Without a permit no person may transport, possess, export from the state, or release into the waters of the state, any live fish unless the person holds a fish transport permit. Ornamental fish may be possessed but may not be released into waters of the state.
- Without a permit no person may import any live fish into the state for purposes of stocking or rearing in the waters of the state.
- The Board of Fisheries may adopt regulations it considers advisable for prohibiting and regulating the live capture, possession, transport, or release of native or exotic fish or their eggs.
- Without a permit no person may possess, import, release, export, or assist in importing, releasing, or exporting, live game. See the Clean List for possession and import exceptions.
- The Board of Game (BOG) may adopt regulations it considers advisable for prohibiting the live capture, possession, transport, or release of native or exotic game or their eggs.
- BOG will remove a species from the Clean List if there is a preponderance of evidence that the species is capable of surviving in the wild in Alaska; causing genetic alteration of an indigenous species; causing significant reduction in the population of an indigenous species; transmitting a disease to an indigenous species; or otherwise presents a threat to the health or population of a species that is indigenous to Alaska.
- It is unlawful for the owner or operator of a vessel, vehicle, aircraft, structure being translocated, or other means of conveyance to knowingly or unknowingly transport or harbor live Muridae rodents, or to enter this state, including by the waters of this state, while knowingly or unknowingly transporting or harboring live Muridae rodents.
- It is unlawful for an individual to release into the wild a live Muridae rodent.
- It is unlawful for the owner or operator of a facility to knowingly or unknowingly harbor live Muridae rodents. The owner or operator of a harbor, port, airport, or food processing facility in which live Muridae rodents have been found shall develop and implement an ongoing rodent response and eradication or control plan.
- The transplanting of aquatic plants is prohibited without a permit by the commissioner.
- For the taking of game classified as deleterious exotic wildlife, as defined in 5 AAC 92.990, there are no bag limits, and no closed season for general hunts. “Deleterious exotic wildlife" includes English sparrow; raccoon; starling; Belgian hare; Muridae rodents; rockdove; and ferret.