Invasive Species
Invasive Species

Alaska’s Banned Invasive Species List Frequently Asked Questions

Why does ADF&G need a banned invasive species list?

The goal of these regulations is to reduce negative impacts to Alaska ecosystems by preventing introduction and spread of invasive species. Organisms classified as banned invasive species are not native to Alaska and are able to survive, grow, reproduce and establish populations here. They prey upon native species or compete with them for food, habitat, and other resources. These invasive species can cause genetic alteration or carry pathogens and diseases that are injurious to native organisms or humans. They reduce the value of habitat, threaten the health and sustainability of native species and can cause economic harm. At this time, there are some banned invasive species for which there are no known means of controlling or eradicating them once they become established. You can help protect Alaska aquatic resources by complying with these regulations and reporting invasive species.

What is new with the banned invasive species regulations in 2023?

The point of these regulations is to protect Alaska resources without overly burdening residents and visitors. Thus, recognizing the food value of some of the listed banned invasive species, ADF&G requested the Board of Fisheries to update the regulations by creating two classes of prohibited species. No changes have been made to regulations for organisms listed under Class A, which means import, possession, transport, etc. of live, dead and parts of those organism is prohibited. Organisms listed as Class B invasive species, the ones we harvest or purchase for consumption, may be transported only when they are dead. Now, anglers who travel out of state for fishing adventures may bring home edible portions of bluegill, brook trout, catfish or other Class B fish species.

Another important change pertains to the regulations for handling both Class A and B invasive species. Now when a person is recreating or working outdoors and they see a suspected zebra mussel, smallmouth bass, or bullfrog, for example, they may collection a specimen, place it in a container and then take it to ADF&G to get assistance with identification and to report it.

These less restrictive regulations allow fans of crawfish and frog legs to import these favorite foods- as long as they are dead and pre-cooked. Beach walking stewards of the nearshore can pick up that suspected European green crab, freeze it, and submit it to Fish and Game to assist with preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species.

What species are included on the list?

Class A
Freshwater organisms Freshwater/Terrestrial organisms Marine organisms
All non-ornamental carp Pacific chorus frog European green crab
American shad Red-legged frog Asian clam
Eastern mosquitofish
Fathead minnows
Asian carp
Golden shiners
Redside shiners
Round goby
Yellow perch
Rusty crayfish
Virile crayfish/Northern crayfish
Conrad's false dark mussels
New Zealand mudsnails
Quagga mussels
Zebra mussels

Class B
Freshwater organisms Freshwater/Terrestrial organisms
Black crappie American bullfrog
Brook trout
Brown trout
Largemouth bass
Smallmouth bass
White crappie
White perch
Yellow perch
Signal crayfish
Red swamp crayfish

Can I get a permit to purchase, import, possess and transport red swamp crayfish ("Louisiana crawfish") for personal consumption?

No, ADF&G does not have a permit to allow purchase, import, possession, or transport of live species listed as Class A or Class B banned invasive species. This includes red swamp crayfish (“crawfish”). You are welcome to purchase, import, possess and transport dead and “ready-to eat” crayfish that have been pre-cooked prior to distribution. Our Aquatic Resource Permit is intended for scientific and educational purposes only and does not allow for consumption of collected organisms.

How do the regulations on banned invasive species affect harvest of signal crayfish or other non-native species already in Alaska?

The new regulation allows harvest of signal crayfish; however, it prohibits possession, transport and release, importation, propagation, purchase and sale of live signal crayfish. As a Class B banned invasive species, signal crayfish must be harvested and killed or cooked at the lake, before they may be transported home. Live signal crayfish may not be transported from where they are caught without an Aquatic Resource Permit (for scientific and educational purposes only- see above).

How are banned invasive species brought to Alaska?

Most invasive species are transported between location by humans, accidentally or intentionally. Zebra and quagga mussels can be spread to new water bodies when they are not cleaned from hulls, propellors, rudders, and floats, and are not drained from bilge and ballast tanks, motors, and live wells after boats or floatplanes are used in waters with established infestations. Different types of fish, frogs, and other animals have been brought into the state as pets and then illegally released outdoors or into the wild. Although it may seem harmless, releasing any organism into one’s backyard, a nearby park or lake, or into the forest is prohibited in Alaska. Many domesticated pets will not survive on their own, but some will. Those that survive may become invasive, and be harmful to native species.

Can I keep any of the banned invasive species as a pet?

The animals listed as banned invasive species may not be imported into Alaska or possessed as live animals. Other ADF&G regulations define what animals can be kept as pets; check the Pets and Livestock or Ornamental Fish tabs available on this website.

If you have other questions about banned invasive species or other invasive species questions, contact ADF&G’s Invasive Species Program Coordinator at or (907) 465-6183.