New Requirements for Michigan Boaters and Anglers to Prevent the Introduction and Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species

By February 28, 2019 Uncategorized

Michigan’s Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (Act 451 of 1994) Part 413 has recently been amended with changes for boaters and anglers that take effect March 21, 2019. The changes are intended to strengthen protection for Michigan waterways against the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species. Prior to the amended changes, the law only required that a person not place watercraft or trailers in the waters of Michigan if an aquatic plant is attached. In addition to this requirement, the new changes require all of the following prior to transporting any watercraft over land:

– Removing all drain plugs from bilges, ballast tanks, and live wells
– Draining all water from any live wells and bilges
– Ensuring that the watercraft, trailer, and any conveyance used to transport the watercraft or trailer are free of aquatic organisms, including plants

This means that after trailering boats, and before getting on the road, boaters must pull plugs, drain water and remove plants and debris.  Additionally, the new amended law also incorporates requirements from Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources’ Fisheries Order 245 that will also help to prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species as well as fish diseases:

– A person shall not release bait fish in any waters of this state. A person who collects fish shall not use the fish as bait or cut bait except in the inland lake, stream, or Great Lake where the fish was caught, or in a connecting waterway of the inland lake, stream, or Great Lake where the fish was caught if the fish could freely move between the original location of capture and the location of release.

– A person, who catches fish other than bait fish in a lake, stream, Great Lake, or connecting waterway shall only release the fish in the lake, stream, or Great Lake where the fish was caught, or in a connecting waterway of the lake, stream, or Great Lake where the fish was caught if the fish could freely move between the original location of capture and the location of release.

Violation of the law is a state civil infraction and violators may be subject to fines up to $100.

To comply with the law and prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species, boaters
should:

1.  CLEAN boats, trailers and equipment.
2.  DRAIN live wells, bilges and all water.
3.  DRY boats and equipment.
4.  DISPOSE of unwanted bait in the trash.