Maine.gov

Help us Keep it Maine: Protect our Waters from Aquatic Invasive Species

Maine has some of the country’s most pristine and healthy waters, which support high-quality habitat for fish and wildlife as well as endless opportunities for outdoor recreation. On our inland waters, anglers can fish for native brook trout, Arctic charr, landlocked salmon, and lake trout, just to name a few.

Unfortunately, Maine waters, as well as the fish, wildlife, and recreation they support, are threatened each year by introductions of fish, plants, diseases, and other aquatic invasive species that compete with and displace native natural communities.

Why should I care?

Once an aquatic invasive species has established in a body of water, it is extremely difficult for it to be eradicated. These efforts are costly, often risky, and not always successful and introductions have the potential to change our natural places and the way we enjoy them forever.

What can be done?

Prevention is key. So much of the spread comes from people simply enjoying the great outdoors. It’s our duty as those who enjoy using Maine’s waters to become informed, attentive, and accountable for our potential role in the spread of invasive species and to take steps to protect Maine’s waters.

SELECT YOUR PREVENTION ADVENTURE:

Motorboating

1 Clean off visible aquatic plants, animals, and mud from watercraft, motor, trailer, and equipment before leaving water access. 

  • Scrub hull using a stiff brush. 
  • Rinse watercraft, trailer, and equipment with high pressure hot water when possible. 
  • Flush motor according to owner’s manual.
  • Jet Boats and Personal Watercraft (PWCs) users: Clean off visible aquatic plants, animals, and mud from hull, trailer, intake grate and steering nozzle, etc. Run engine 5-10 seconds to blow out excess water and vegetation from internal drive before leaving water access.
  • Sailors: Clean off visible aquatic plants, animals, and mud from the centerboard, bilge board wells, rudder post, trailer, and other equipment before leaving water access.

2Drain water from watercraft, motor, bilge, bladder tanks, live well, and portable bait containers before leaving water access.

3Dry completely before reuse.

Never transport any aquatic plants on watercraft or equipment (including trailers, anchors, nets, etc.). Fines can be up to $2,500 for transporting any aquatic plant and up to $500 for failing to affix the Lake and River Protection Sticker to your motorized craft.

If you see or suspect someone is moving live fish, contact the Maine Warden Service immediately at 1-800-ALERT-US or report the offense at MaineOGT.org

For more information on invasive aquatic plants, please visit: maine.gov/dep/water/invasives

Planning to do some fishing while you are boating?

Paddling

1Clean off visible aquatic plants, animals, and mud from your non-motorized watercraft, gear, paddles, floats, ropes, anchors, dip nets, and trailer before leaving water access.

  • Scrub hull using a stiff brush.
  • Rinse watercraft, trailer, and equipment with high pressure hot water, when possible.  
  • Dispose of debris in a trash reciprocal or a responsible location away from the water.

2Drain water from watercraft, sponges, bailers, and water containing devices before leaving water access.

3Dry completely before reuse.

Never transport any aquatic plants on watercraft or equipment (including trailers, anchors, nets, etc.). Fines can be up to $2,500 for transporting any aquatic plant and up to $500 for failing to affix the Lake and River Protection Sticker to your motorized craft.

If you see or suspect someone is moving live fish, contact the Maine Warden Service immediately at 1-800-ALERT-US or report the offense at MaineOGT.org

For more information on invasive aquatic plants, please visit: maine.gov/dep/water/invasives

Planning to do some fishing while you are paddling?

Fishing

1Clean off plants, animals, and mud from gear and equipment including waders, footwear, ropes, anchors, bait traps, dip nets, downrigger cables, fishing lines, and field gear before leaving water access.

  • Scrub off any visible material on footwear with a stiff brush.
  • Dispose of debris in a trash reciprocal or a responsible location away from the water.

2Drain water from watercraft, motor, bilge, bladder tanks, live well and portable bait containers before leaving water access. 

3Dry completely before reuse.

Fish responsibly:

Under Maine law, you must immediately kill any fish that you decide to keep, and never transport any live fish (other than legal baitfish).

Never introduce fish or fish eggs into any inland water, including private, small, artificially constructed ponds, without a permit. MDIFW does issue permits to allow for safe and appropriate private pond stocking. Applicants must show that the stocking will not create adverse risks to native species, and that fish will come from pre-approved and licensed private hatcheries.

Make sure you are using legal baitfish species. See the Baitfish Information section for a quick guide to identifying legal and illegal species.

Don’t dump your bait! Properly dispose of unused baitfish on land or in the trash. Never release any live baitfish into a water body.

Consider using non-felt soled boots to further reduce the risk of spreading aquatic invasive species. If you do use felt soled boots, thoroughly dry the boots and/or soak in a disinfecting solution before moving to another body of water.

If you see or suspect someone is moving live fish, contact the Maine Warden Service immediately at 1-800-ALERT-US or report the offense at MaineOGT.org