Invasive Species
Invasive Species

Alaska’s Banned Invasive Species List Frequently Asked Questions

Why does ADF&G need a banned invasive species list?

The goal of these regulations is to reduce negative impacts to Alaska ecosystems by preventing introduction or spread of invasive species. Organisms classified as banned invasive species are not native to Alaska and are able to survive, grow, reproduce and establish populations here. They prey upon native species or compete with them for food, habitat, and other resources. These invasive species can cause genetic alteration or carry pathogens and diseases that are injurious to native organisms or humans. They reduce the value of habitat, threaten the health and sustainability of native species and can cause economic harm. In some cases, once they have become established, banned invasive species cannot be controlled or eradicated.

How extensive is the list of banned invasive species?

Freshwater organisms Freshwater/Terrestrial organisms Marine organisms
Asian carp American bullfrog European green crab
Yellow perch Pacific chorus frog
Red swamp crayfish Red-legged frog
Rusty crayfish
Signal crayfish
Conrad's false dark mussels
New Zealand mudsnails
Quagga mussels
Zebra mussels

Can I get a permit to purchase, import, possess and transport red swamp crayfish ("Louisiana crawfish") for personal consumption?

ADF&G does not have a permit to allow purchase, import, possession, transport or consumption of dead or live species listed as banned invasive species which includes red swamp crayfish ("crawfish"). Our Aquatic Resource Permit is intended for scientific and educational purposes only and does not allow for consumption of collected organisms.

How do the regulations on banned invasive species affect harvest of signal crayfish or other non-native species already in Alaska?

The new regulation prohibits possession, transport and release, importation, propagation, purchase and sale of any organism categorized as banned invasive species. Since signal crayfish are listed as a banned invasive species they may not be possessed or transported from where they are established without a permit. Harvest of signal crayfish is prohibited at this time.

How are banned invasive species brought to Alaska?

Most invasive species are transported between locations by humans, accidentally or intentionally. Zebra and quagga mussels can be spread to new water bodies if they are not cleaned from hulls, propellors, rudders, and floats, and are not drained from bilge and ballast tanks, motors, and live-wells after boats or floatplanes are used in waters with established infestations. Different types of frogs have been brought in to the state as pets and then illegally released outdoors or into the wild. Although it may seem harmless, releasing any organism into one’s backyard, a nearby park or lake, or into the forest is prohibited in Alaska. Many domesticated pets will not survive on their own, but some will. Those that survive can cause problems for native species.

Crayfish species can be bought as a food source, for a crawfish boil, and then inadvertently released by well-meaning individuals. It is illegal to release any live organism to the wild because of the threat they pose.

Can I keep any of the banned invasive species as a pet?

The animals listed as banned invasive species may not be imported into Alaska or possessed. Other ADF&G regulations define what animals can be kept as pets; check the Pets and Livestock or Ornamental Fish tabs available on this website.

Look for updates to the Banned Invasive Species regulations, - fall 2023.

ADF&G recognizes the food value of some banned invasive species. In March 2023, the Board of Fisheries approved an ADF&G proposal to update regulations by creating two classes of banned invasive species. Class A banned invasive species will continue to be restricted according to existing regulations, with the one exception being a dead specimen may be transported in a closed container to ADF&G for the purpose of reporting. Class B banned invasive species, whole or parts, may be purchased, imported, possessed as long as it is DEAD. These regulation changes will go into effect after they’ve been signed by the Alaska Lt. Governor.

If you have other questions about banned invasive species or other invasive species questions, contact ADF&G’s Invasive Species Program Coordinator at or (907) 465-6183.