Fines doubled for AIS violations

Civil fines for people caught violating the state’s aquatic invasive species (AIS) laws doubled July 1 when new, tougher laws take effect, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced.

Minnesota law prohibits the possession or transport of any AIS in the state. AIS include zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil and spiny waterfleas.

DNR officials had previously announced that the AIS violation rate among Minnesota boaters and anglers is at an unacceptable rate of 20 percent.

"The larger fines should help people realize that this is a serious problem, and we need everyone to do their part to prevent the spread of AIS," said Maj. Phil Meier, DNR Enforcement operations manager.

For example, failure to remove a drain plug while transporting a watercraft will mean a $100 fine, instead of a $50 penalty. The fine for unlawfully possessing and transporting prohibited AIS will increase from $250 to $500.

Other new AIS laws that go into effect July 1 include: