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Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!

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It’s up to boaters and anglers to keep nuisance species from invading NH’s waters!

Several species of non-native aquatic plants invade waterbodies, forming thick underwater stands of tangled stems and vast mats of vegetation at the water’s surface. They can crowd out important native water plants. Once they become established, aquatic nuisance species can be impossible to contain and control—so please make sure you’re not accidentally bringing an aquatic hitchhiker into the state!

To prevent the transport of aquatic nuisance species, please clean all recreational equipment. Whenever you leave a body of water:

  • Remove any visible mud, plants, fish or animals.
  • Drain water from equipment (engine water intake systems, bilge, live wells, bait buckets).
  • Clean and dry anything that comes into contact with water (boats, trailers, equipment, etc.)
  • Never release plants, fish or animals into a body of water unless they came out of that body of water. It’s the law!

Invasive Plants

It is illegal to transport, import, purchase, propagate, sell or distribute 14 species of non-native aquatic plants in NH. Among them are: Eurasian milfoil, variable milfoil, fanwort, purple loosestrife and water chestnut.

Zebra Mussels

These non-natives cause numerous problems, including attaching themselves to boat hulls and clogging water intake systems. Let’s keep zebra mussels out of NH.


Didymosphenia geminata, a.k.a. “didymo” or “rock snot,” has been discovered in the Connecticut River and its tributaries. If you fish, boat or swim in this river, be sure to disinfect all of your items before using them elsewhere. Visit and search “didymo” for more details so YOU don’t spread this organism.

For more information, contact the NH Department of Environmental Services Exotic Species Program at (603) 271-2963,; NH Fish and Game at (603) 271-2501,; or

Keep VHS Out

Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia or VHS virus is a fish disease that arrived in the Great Lakes region just a few years ago. VHS is not a threat to people who handle or eat infected fish, but it can kill more than 25 fish species—making it the most significant fish disease problem in the US in the last 50 years, with the potential to devastate freshwater fish populations.

To date, there have been no VHS-infected fish collected in New Hampshire, but the virus has been found in several New York waters, and there is a real threat that it will reach our waters over time. There is no vaccination or cure for the disease, so it can’t be controlled—only contained. You can help by not moving fish, including bait fish, from one waterbody to another. If you suspect VHS virus or see a fish kill, immediately report it to NH Fish and Game at (603) 744-5470.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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