Boaters beware: Fines double for aquatic speciesDULUTH, Minn. — The fine for forgetting to pull your drain plug at a boat landing, allowing a zebra mussel into your boat or leaving weeds hanging on your trailer will double starting Sunday across Minnesota to as much as $500.
By: John Myers, The Dickinson Press
DULUTH, Minn. — The fine for forgetting to pull your drain plug at a boat landing, allowing a zebra mussel into your boat or leaving weeds hanging on your trailer will double starting Sunday across Minnesota to as much as $500.
The move was set by the Minnesota Legislature last year, and Department of Natural Resources officials said Friday they are ready to enforce the change and slap violators with hefty fines.
The fine for transporting aquatic plants will go from $50 to $100; same for forgetting to pull that bilge plug. And the fine for possessing, or transporting a prohibited invasive species in your boat or on your trailer — such as zebra mussels, ruffe or goby — will jump to $500.
While the move had already been ordered by lawmakers, it comes just a few weeks after DNR enforcement division officials announced that 1-in-5 Minnesotans checked by conservation officers while towing a boat early this summer was in violation of at least one provision of the state’s myriad rules aimed at preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species.
State officials have called that violation rate unacceptable if the state is going to be at all successful at slowing the spread of invasive species.
State law requires operators of all watercraft — motorboats, canoes, kayaks, Jetskis, sailboats, duckboats — to remove all aquatic plants and animals from their watercraft, drain all water from inside the boat (bilge, bait buckets, livewells, etc.) and leave all their drain plugs and water draining devices open during transport.