The DNR is proposing to classify the fish listed below as Prohibited Invasive Species under DNR rules (Minnesota Rules, 6216.0250). The Minnesota invasive species laws webpage lists currently classified species. Prohibited Invasive Species are illegal to possess, import, purchase, sell, propagate, transport or introduce without a permit from the DNR (Minnesota Statutes, chapter 84D).
- eastern mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki)
- Nile perch (Lates niloticus)
- snakehead fish (Channidae family)
- tench (Tinca tinca)
- tubenose gobies (any fish belonging to the genus Proterorhinus)
- walking catfish (Clariidae family)
See the Detailed information on Prohibited Invasive Species Rulemaking webpage for an overview of all the species being proposed, links to detailed classification summary documents and direct links to statutory information including definitions, prohibited activities and possible penalties. When new rules go in to effect, the DNR’s priority is education, to help people understand the new rules to prevent the introduction and spread of the species.
Q: Why is this needed? What good will it do?
A: The Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers Aquatic Invasive Species Task Force has released their list of the Great Lakes Least Wanted Aquatic Invasive Species. Tench is on that list, but is not regulated in Minnesota. Regulating tench as a prohibited invasive species can help prevent introductions and impacts to Minnesota and the Great Lakes region as a whole.
Tubenose gobies and eastern mosquitofish have both been found to be invasive in other places where they have been introduced and are to likely survive Minnesota winters. Preventing their introduction in Minnesota would prevent Minnesota from experiencing those impacts.
The Nile perch, snakehead family and walking catfish family are proposed for regulation in Minnesota for consistency with the federal injurious wildlife species list. Due to a reinterpretation of this federal law in 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service does not have the jurisdiction to prohibit the interstate transport of federally-listed injurious species within the continental U.S., but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service maintains an authority to prohibit interstate commerce of state-banned species. By listing these federally injurious wildlife species, Minnesota will help to close regulatory gaps in the Great Lakes region and help prevent the introduction of these species to Minnesota.
Several related species are already prohibited invasive species in Minnesota. By adding close relatives, this will further protect Minnesota from impacts from these species while not requiring dramatic changes for businesses and the public.
Aquarium and water garden owners
Q: I have one of these fish species in my aquarium or water garden, how would this rule affect me?
A: If the rule goes into effect and if aquarists do currently have these fish species, they could apply for a permit to possess prohibited invasive species from the DNR. The DNR can consider permitting individuals to possess these species in Minnesota under certain conditions to grandfather in existing pets. Going forward, new individuals of these species would not be allowed in aquariums.
Aquarium and water garden suppliers and retailers
Q: Can I sell these fish species if the rule change goes into effect?
A: No. It would no longer be legal to sell these species if the rule goes into effect.
Bait dealers and Retailers
Q: Can I sell these fish species for bait if the rule change goes into effect?
A: No. It would not be legal to sell these species if the rule changes goes into effect. It is already illegal to import live fish for bait into the state (Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 97C.341). Also, these species are already not intentionally sold as dead bait in Minnesota at this time, as Minnesota has specific rules surrounding dead bait and these species would not qualify.
Q: Can I use these fish species as bait?
A. No. It is already illegal to transport live fish in the state beyond legal bait fish (Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 97C.205). Also, these species are already not intentionally sold as dead bait in Minnesota at this time, as Minnesota has specific rules surrounding dead bait and these species would not qualify.
Q: Can I catch these species in another state and bring them to Minnesota for consumption if the rule change goes into effect?
A: No. Possession of these species, alive or dead, would not be allowed.
Aquaculture industry and Seafood retailers
Q: Can I raise and/or sell these species for food if the rule change goes into effect?
A: No. Possession and selling of these species, alive or dead, would not be allowed. None of the species are currently being raised as aquaculture species in Minnesota. State aquaculture license applications require that applicants state the species they are proposing and if the species is non-native they have to fill out a risk assessment form. There are no current Minnesota aquaculture licenses granted for the raising of these species of fish.
Researchers and Educators
Q: Can I possess these fish for research or educational purposes if the rule change goes into effect?
A: If you are collecting, transporting or keeping samples of these species, you would need to apply for a permit to possess prohibited invasive species from the DNR. The DNR will assess the risks of your proposed project and may issue a permit to manage those risks. The DNR may also suggest alternatives for teaching people how to identify these species.