HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission will meet to discuss a proposal to limit the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Part of the proposal would prevent anyone from placing a watercraft, trailer, or water-related equipment into Pennsylvania waterways that has aquatic macrophytes, plants or prohibited invasive species attached.

The proposal would require boaters to decontaminate a watercraft and drain a watercraft holding water and live wells and bilges before transporting the craft.

Invasive species that would be banned from possessing and introducing/importing into Pennsylvania waters mentioned in the proposal include:

  • Snakehead (all species).
  • Black carp (Mylopharyngodon piceus).
  • Bighead carp (Hypophtalmichtys nobilis).
  • Silver carp (Hypophtalmichtys molitrix).
  • Zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha).
  • Quagga mussel (Dreissena bugensis).
  • Round goby (Neogobius melanostomus).
  • Tubenose goby (Proterorhinus marmoratus).
  • European rudd (Scardinius erythropthalmus).
  • Crayfish (all species).

The proposal on watercraft can be read below and the full proposal can be found online.


§ 71a.12. Watercraft requirements and prohibitions.

 (a) General. No person may place or attempt to place a watercraft, trailer or water-related equipment into waters of this Commonwealth, including aquatic plant harvesting or control equipment that has aquatic macrophytes, plants or prohibited invasive species attached, in whole or in part, except as provided in this section.

 (b) Removal and confinement.

 (1) A waterways conservation officer may order the following:

 (i) Removal of aquatic macrophytes, plants or prohibited invasive species listed in § 71a.11(a) (relating to prohibited species) from a watercraft, trailer or water-related equipment before being transported or before it is placed into waters of this Commonwealth.

 (ii) Confinement of the watercraft at a mooring, dock or other location until the related equipment is removed from the water.

 (iii) Removal of watercraft from a water of this Commonwealth to remove prohibited invasive species if the water has not been listed by the Commission as being infected with that species.

 (iv) A prohibition on placing a watercraft into a water of this Commonwealth when the watercraft has aquatic macrophytes, plants or prohibited invasive species attached in violation of subsection (a) or when water has not been drained or the drain plug has not been removed in violation of subsection (c).

 (v) Decontamination of a watercraft, if possible, on site.

 (2) An order for removal of prohibited invasive species under paragraph (1)(i) or decontamination of a watercraft under paragraph (1)(v) may include issuing a notice that specifies a time frame for completing the removal or decontamination and re-inspection of the watercraft.

 (c) Persons transporting watercraft.

 (1) When leaving a water of this Commonwealth, a person must drain a watercraft holding water and live wells and bilges by removing the drain plug before transporting the watercraft. Transporting includes moving the watercraft over land between connected or unconnected waterbodies but does not include moving watercraft within the immediate area required for loading and preparing the watercraft for transport over land. A person transporting game fish as a result of a tournament for weigh-in purposes is not subject to this subsection.

 (2) Drain plugs, bailers, valves or other devices used to control the draining of water from ballast tanks, bilges and live wells must be removed or opened while transporting watercraft.

 (3) A person shall ensure the watercraft, trailer, motor, fishing supplies, fishing gear and conveyance used to transport the watercraft and trailer are free of aquatic organisms, including vegetation.


The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission will hold a meeting of the Fisheries and Hatcheries Committee at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, September 28, 2022, at its Harrisburg headquarters located at 1601 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, Pa 17110.

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To prepare for this meeting, the public comment period associated with this proposal has been extended for 30 days, and comments will now be accepted until September 17, 2022.  To view the proposal and submit public comment online, visit the PFBC website (Fishandboat.com).