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A significant barrier to industry and consumer compliance with AIS laws is the lack of easily accessible state aquatic invasive species (AIS) lists. Access to these updated lists is critical to all actors in the commerce supply chain, from manufacturers and producers to sellers and buyers because the lists provide information about which species are prohibited or allowed in each state.

In 2023, the National Sea Grant Law Center conducted research to determine the public accessibility of state AIS lists. The results of that research is shared below and illustrates the following challenges:

  • It is difficult to locate many state AIS lists online.

  • Little information exists about how state lists are monitored, updated, or enforced.

  • Terminology varies significantly from state to state, and states describe species and groupings of species a variety of ways (e.g., prohibited wildlife, allowed wildlife, exotic species, nuisance species, noxious weeds, etc.).

  • Some states lack lists for specific categories of species, e.g., some state may only publish a prohibited list of animals, but do not have a similar list for plants; some states only publish a list of species prohibited in aquaculture.

A key outcome of the AIS in Commerce project will be a suite of recommendations to the states that include everything from making state AIS lists accessible and easy to understand, to considering aligning terminology across states to improve comprehension and compliance with state AIS regulations, and thus effectively reducing AIS in commerce.

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To access the draft Model Regulatory Language to Address Priority Gaps in AIS in Commerce, click here, or click on the image.

Are State Lists Available for Both Plant and Animal Species?

A total of 58% of states have both plant and animal lists. A total of 42% of states have partial lists, e.g., finfish or aquatic plants only. 

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