DNR adds to prohibited aquatic invasive species list

Courtesy:  Michigan DNR

LANSING — The Department of Natural Resources announced the addition of seven species to Michigan’s prohibited species list of aquatic invasive species.  An additional species already on the list was also modified from a prohibited species to a restricted species.

Any species considered for listing as prohibited or restricted must be not native to Michigan. Prohibited species generally are not present or are in very limited areas, whereas restricted species are generally widespread and naturalized within the state.

The decision came during the Nov. 6 meeting of the Natural Resources Commission, where DNR Director Keith Creagh signed Invasive Species Order Amendment No. 1 of 2014.

Prior to this order there were 33 aquatic species listed as prohibited or restricted. The following species were added to the prohibited species list:

  • Stone moroko – part of the minnow family, this species is a known carrier of a parasite that can negatively impact other fishes.
  • Zander – a close relative of the walleye, this species could compete with the native fish or reproduce with it and create a hybrid.
  • Wels catfish – this fish is considered a serious danger to native fish populations.
  • Killer shrimp – this species is an aggressive predator and could severely threaten the trophic levels of the Great Lakes by preying on a range of invertebrates.
  • Yabby – this large crayfish would negatively impact other crayfish species.
  • Golden mussel – similar to zebra and quagga mussels, this species has destructive qualities that would threaten native biodiversity.
  • Red swamp crayfish – this species can quickly dominate waterbodies and is virtually impossible to eradicate.

Additionally, rusty crayfish were moved from prohibited to restricted classification to allow for their limited possession for the purpose of destroying them for consumption, fertilizer or trash. This species already is widespread throughout the state, yet regulations previously didn’t allow for the collection of them for consumptive purposes.

“Crayfish trapping is a growing activity in Michigan and allowing our anglers to enjoy some tablefare while assisting to remove an invasive species is a win/win,” said Nick Popoff, Aquatic Species and Regulatory Affairs manager for the DNR.

This order comes following a meeting of the governors of each of the Great Lakes states committing to blocking the spread of 16 “least wanted” aquatic invasive species through prohibitions and restrictions. Nine of the 16 already were prohibited in Michigan under the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act; six more were designated as prohibited with the signing of this order. Please note, the remaining “least wanted” aquatic invasive species is a plant. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has authority over plants and is expected to add water soldier as a prohibited species through the Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development in January.

For more information on Michigan’s fight against aquatic invasive species, visit www.michigan.gov/invasivespecies. Information about these additional species can be found in the Order and will be posted on the DNR’s invasive species website this week.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.