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Anglers and Boaters: You are an important partner in preventing the spread of fish diseases and other aquatic nuisance species

Michigan's waters are threatened by numerous nonnative aquatic invasive plants and animals. Species such as the zebra mussel, round goby, sea lamprey, Eurasian ruffe, European frog-bit, Eurasian watermilfoil, rusty crayfish, and spiny water flea are causing significant dmanage to Michigan's natural resources. A number of species also are knocking at the door, including several species of Asian carp coming up the Chicago diversion that could potentially enter Lake Michigan and snakehead fish that already are found in other Midwest states. Aquatic invasive species are harmful to recreational fishing and do extensive economic and natural resource damage. To help reduce the spread of invasive species, anglers are reminded to properly dispose of all bait containers; including worms and soil, crayfish and minnows, in a trash receptacle.

The following illustrations show a few of the most serious aquatic nuisance species in Michigan:

Photo of Eurasian Ruffe and Round Goby

Photo of Tubenose Goby, Rusty Crayfish and Zebra Mussel

Asian carp identification
Check out the DNR's website dedicated to all things Asian carp at: www.michigan.gov/asiancarp.

Help Stop the Spread!
Anglers and boaters can help prevent the spread of fish diseases and other aquatic nuisance species by taking the following steps:

  • Clean boats, trailers and other equipment thoroughly between fishing trips to keep from transporting undesirable fish pathogens and organisms, from one water body to another with special care to clean fishing equipment when you are done fishing. A light bleach solution is an excellent disinfectant for cleaning your equipment.
  • Allow boats, trailers and other equipment to fully dry for 4 to 6 hours in the sun before use.
  • Do not move fish or fish parts from one body of water to another.
  • Only purchase live bait from a retailer.
  • Do not release live bait into any water body.
  • Handle fish as gently as possible if you intend to release them and release them as quickly as possible.
  • Refrain from hauling the fish for long periods in live wells if you intend to release them.
  • Report unusual numbers of dead or dying fish to the local DNR Fisheries Division office (see page 67 of the fishing guide).
  • Educate other anglers about the measure they can take to prevent the spread of fish diseases and other aquatic nuisance species.

Natural resource managers are concerned about introduction of new species and have set up an Angler's Monitoring Network to report any discoveries. Anglers should save and report unidentified fish to the nearest DNR Operations Service Center.

If you have any questions, contact a Customer Service Center or visit www.michigan.gov/deq/0,4561,7-135-3313_8314---,00.html.