Controlled Alien Species Regulation
Prohibited Fish Species
The British ColumbiaWildlife Act’s Controlled Alien Species (CAS) Regulation controls the possession, breeding, shipping, and releasing of alien animals (i.e. that are not native to B.C.) that pose a risk to the health and safety of people or the environment. Under Sections 6.4 and 6.5 of the BC Wildlife Act, the Minister of the Environment has the authority to designate species as controlled alien species and to regulate these species.
As of December 18th, 2012, the possession, breeding, shipping and release of listed live fish species under Schedule 3 of the CAS Regulation became prohibited in B.C.
This site includes information relating to Schedule 3 species (fish) under the CAS Regulation.
- Find information on Schedule 1 and 2 listed species - animals dangerous to humans
- Read Schedule 4 species - invasive freshwater mussels
Amnesty Period: January 9th to July 9th, 2017
The Government of British Columbia recognizes that this regulation may have a sudden impact to your business, as a listed species may be in your possession. If this is the case, to help you comply with the regulation, the Government of British Columbia has implemented a six month amnesty period. During this six month amnesty period, you are allowed to possess the Schedule 3 species you currently have ONLY for the purpose of shipping it to a jurisdiction that lawfully allows the possession of it, or turning it over to the Conservation Officer Service (without penalty). Any possession, breeding, shipping, or release that does not meet the conditions of this amnesty period will be investigated by the BC Conservation Officer Service and potential charges could result. This Amnesty period begins January 9th to July 9th, 2017 to allow you time to export or give up the Schedule 3 species currently in your possession.
Please refer to the links below for more information on the 6 month amnesty period for removing from your possession, all Schedule 3 species under the CAS Regulation of the BC Wildlife Act.
On December 18th, 2012 a number of regulatory amendments to the Controlled Alien Species Regulation became law. These changes included the addition of a number of aquatic invasive species that pose a significant risk to B.C.’s native species, environment, infrastructure, and recreational and commercial interests. These species are listed in Schedule 3 (fish) and Schedule 4 (freshwater mussels).
Why the province created Schedules 3 under the CAS Regulation
The Government of British Columbia has the responsibility of protecting people and the environment, for which Schedule 3 listed species pose a serious threat. The regulation thus makes the possession, breeding, release, sale and transport of these species PROHIBITED in British Columbia. Most of these species are presently not found in the Province, but the threat is significant enough to ensure that there are prohibitions in place to prevent these species becoming established in the wild.
How species were selected for inclusion on Schedule 3
Fish species were listed if there was a strong inference or actual knowledge that the species was:
- capable of surviving and reproducing in BC’s environments;
- capable of moving significantly beyond the place of entry;
- able to cause significant environmental and/or economic harm if they become established; or
- known to be at risk of introduction to BC through the live fish trade.
Some of the listed fish species such as the snakeheads (family Channidae), are present in the B.C. aquarium trade or live food trade, which presents a risk that they could be deliberately or accidentally released into the wild. Examples include the release of unwanted pets into nearby streams, ponds or other water bodies, and the release of fish from the live food trade for animal welfare or cultural reasons.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: The information provided below has been added for convenience of reference only. Please review Schedule 3 of the CAS Regulation for the current list of legislated Controlled Alien Species.
All species and hybrids listed under Schedules 1-4 of the Controlled Alien Species Regulation are considered "controlled alien species".
A single live member of a controlled alien species designated under Schedules 3 or 4, at any development stage, is referred to as an "aquatic invasive species individual".
Schedule 3 Listed Species Include:
(1) Fish of the following species of the family Channidae:
(a) all species of the genus Channa [Asian snakeheads];
(b) all species of the genus Parachanna [African snakeheads].
(2) Misgurnus anguillicaudatus [oriental weatherfish or weather loach] of the family Cobitidae.
(3) Fish of the following species of the family Cyprinidae:
(a) Ctenopharyngodon idella [grass carp];
(b) Hypophthalmichthys molitrix [silver carp];
(c) Hypophthalmichthys nobilis [bighead carp];
(d) Mylopharyngodon piceus [black carp];
(e) all species of the genus Rhodeus [bitterlings];
(f) Tanichthys albonubes [White Cloud Mountain minnow];
(g) Tinca tinca [tench].
(4) Fish of the following species of the family Gobiidae:
(a) Neogobius fluviatilis [monkey goby];
(b) Neogobius melanostomus [round goby];
(c) Proterorhinus semilunaris [tubenose goby];
(d) Rhinogobius brunneus [Amur goby].
(5) All fish species of the family Ictaluridae [including bullheads, channel catfish and madtoms].
(6) Gambusia affinis [western mosquitofish] of the family Poeciliidae.
For More Information on Species:
- Refer to a full list of Schedule 3 species
*Please Note: This list is to be used as a guidance document and therefore may not include all species.
Schedule 3 species are prohibited under all circumstances from the Province of British Columbia. The person who possesses a Schedule 3 fish species is responsible and therefore accountable for any penalties and fines under the Controlled Alien Species Regulation.
Prior to July 9th, 2017 , anyone in possession of a of Schedule 3 species will be responsible for exporting them to a jurisdiction that lawfully allows their possession, or relinquishing them to the BC Conservation Officer Service (penalty free). It is NOT possible to acquire a permit to possess, breed, sell, release, or transport Schedule 3 species in B.C.
In essence, anyone who is in possession of a Controlled Alien Species is affected by this regulation. This regulation is most likely to impact pet owners, pet store and live food venders, wholesalers, importers, and researchers of Schedule 3 species. These individuals and groups are urged to comply with the Controlled Alien Species Regulation in order to avoid future penalties.
Provincial conservation officers and constables of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service have the authority to seize or destroy controlled alien species listed under Schedule 3 of the Controlled Alien Species Regulation.
The penalties associated with breeding or releasing for a first time offender are:
- fines ranging from $2,500 to a maximum of $250,000; or
- a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years; or
- both a fine and a sentence.
The penalties for possession for a first time offender are:
- fines up to a maximum of $100,000; or
- a term of imprisonment of one year; or
- both a fine and a sentence.