General Information about Kentucky’s Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS)
What are nuisance species?
Nuisance species are non-native species (a.k.a. exotic, alien, or non-indigenous) that have moved outside their native range AND threaten native species or interfere with important commercial, agricultural, and recreational actives.
Why do some species become “nuisances?”
Natural “checks and balances” such as predators, parasites, diseases, and competitors may not exist outside of the native ranges for these species. This creates an environment where they can dominate and become “nuisances.”
Native species are not used to living with these nuisance species and are not adapted to eat them or compete with them. This can quickly upset the natural balance of an ecosystem and create many negative impacts.
Aquatic Nuisance Species Impacts
Why should we make an effort to stop the spread of nuisance species?
Nuisance species have major biological, economical, and aesthetic impacts on Kentucky.
Biological Impacts include the degradation of native habitats, reduced abundance of native species, and the loss of biodiversity on a global scale.
Purple Loosestrife dominates a once diverse wetland. (Photo: Ned Hettinger www.watershedcouncil.org)
Economic Impacts include increased business costs due to interference with normal operations or infrastructure. In addition, tourism dollars are lost when recreational experiences such as hunting, hiking, fishing, swimming, and boating are no longer possible or pleasant.
Silver Carp jump when startled by the sound of a boat motor creating a hazardous situation for recreational boaters. (Photo: asiancarp.us)
Aesthetic Impacts are often seen with invasions by non-native species. This results in an inability for the citizens of Kentucky to enjoy and pass along their favorite fishing, hunting, and hiking areas to future generations.
Dead Asian carp pile up below a dam after contracting Gas Bubble Disease. (Photo: Paul Rister)
What You Can Do
Anglers and Water Recreationists
Clean your boat, anchor, and other items that may have been submerged in water. This is best done by rinsing your transportation sources and equipment thoroughly with a hard spray or HOT (105° F) water, like that found at a do-it-yourself carwash.
- Drain water-related equipment before leaving a water-access or shoreline property.
- DO NOT dump leftover bait! DISPOSE of unwanted bait, including minnows, leeches, and worms, in the trash. Dumping of bait is the #1 way that Asian Carp are spread between waterways.
- If your dog goes swimming, wash your dog with clean water and brush its coat.
For more information about how to prevent the spread of invasive species please visit these websites:
Aquarium and Water Garden Owners
DO NOT release fish and aquatic plants into the wild. Release or escape of fish and plants from aquariums and water gardens can harm Kentucky waters and native species. Aquarium fish can carry diseases that can kill native fish and invasive plants can clog waterways and snag boat propellers.
Some alternatives to release include:
- Give/trade with another aquarist, pond owner, or water gardener
- Donate to a local aquarium society, school, or aquatic business
- Seal aquatic plants in plastic bags and dispose in the trash
- Contact a veterinarian or pet retailer for guidance on humane disposal of animals
For more information about protecting our environment by not releasing unwanted fish and aquatic plants visit
Report a Suspected ANS
If you think you have found an Aquatic Nuisance Species in a previously unknown location, please save a specimen (preferably by freezing) or take a picture and contact the KDFWR Fisheries Division at (270) 759-5295.
Laws and Regulations
Kentucky statutes regarding transport and stocking of aquatic species:
Programs and Project Plans
Other websites with helpful information about Invasive Species: