Aquatic Invasive Species Laws

Prohibited Species

  • Prohibited Species: Possession of zebra mussels, quagga mussels, rusty crayfish, Asian clam, spiny water flea, fishhook water flea, and all aquatic plants is prohibited.

Vessel Inspections

  • Mandatory Inspections: Watercraft operators must inspect their vessels and trailers for aquatic plants and invasive species before launching and upon leaving state waters.
  • Draining Requirements: Operators must drain vessels, trailers, and equipment of water, including live wells and bilge areas, before leaving state waters. Drain plugs and other water-controlling devices must be removed or open during transport.

Mandatory Boat Inspections

  • Mandatory Inspections: Boat inspections are mandatory at authorized inspection stations when required. Refusal to comply is a violation of state law.

Aquatic Invasive Species Identification

  • Identified Species: Rusty crayfish, alewife, Asian clam, spiny water flea, water chestnut, variable-leaf watermilfoil, and zebra mussel are prohibited.
  • Description: Rusty crayfish identified by dark reddish spots on their shell and large, strong, smooth claws. Other species have specific characteristics.

Round Goby Identification

  • Invasive Round Goby: Native to Eurasia, invading North American waters, including Lake Champlain.
  • Impact: Competes with native fish, carries diseases, preys on fish eggs, and decreases bass populations.
  • Prevention: Avoid moving live fish between water bodies, thoroughly clean and dry watercraft, and report any round goby sightings in Vermont waters.
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