Skip to Page Content Governor | General Assembly | Courts | Elected Officials | State Agencies
  Photo: Featured Delaware Photo
  Phone Numbers   Mobile   Help   Size   Print   Email

Skip Navigation LinksDNREC : Division of Fish & Wildlife : Fisheries



DNREC Web Reboot Project Logo

This page has been updated and replaced as part of the DNREC Web Reboot Project.

The new location for this page is

Please update your links and bookmarks.

Learn more.

A Northern snakehead - invasive species that has been found in Delaware waters.



Aquatic Invasive Species


Delaware, along with other states in the Mid-Atlantic Region, has been invaded by non-native aquatic species that pose a threat to native species, to ecological processes, and to the economy.  Once established, invasive plant and animal species are costly and difficult to control and can be impossible to completely eradicate.  Preventing the introduction and spread of these species is key to averting long-term ecosystem damage.  The best approach is to have an informed public that can identify invasive species, report occurrences, and help the effort by not introducing or spreading them in the state.


What is an invasive species? 

Ø  An invasive species is a non-native species whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health. 


What characteristics do successful aquatic invaders have?

·         Ability to tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions

·         Rapid growth and maturity

·         Produce a large number of offspring

·         Few natural predators


How are aquatic invasive species introduced into new areas? There are many vectors including, but not limited to:

·         Ship Ballast Water and Ship Hull Fouling

·         Intentional and Illegal Stocking

·         Educational/Religious Practices

·         Discarded Live Fishing Bait

·         Climate Change and Weather Related Events

·         ‘Hitchhike’ on Boats, Trailers, Boots, or Other Recreational Gear and Equipment

·         Attached to Animal Fur, Feathers or in Feces

·         Escape from Aquaculture Facilities and Live Food Markets 


Known invasive species in Delaware waters
(Click Images for More Information)

 Northern snakehead                                                                                         Flathead catfish


          Blue catfish                                                                                          Red swamp crayfish



          Chinese mitten crab                                                                                       Asian shore crab



                 Aquatic Plants                                                                                         European green crab


What should you do if you encounter an aquatic invasive species?

Members of the public are key to preventing the invasion and spread of aquatic invasive species. You can help by reporting very unusual aquatic plant and animal species to the Division of Fish and Wildlife. Please include the date, a specific location, and a photo to confirm species identification.




Note: Unusual TERRESTRIAL species should be reported to: (302) 739-9912.


Links to additional information about aquatic invasive species: 


Delaware Invasive Species Council:

Mid-Atlantic Panel on Aquatic Invasive Species:

Aquatic Nuisance Task Force:




























site map   |   about this site   |    contact us   |    translate   |