Canadian Council on Invasive Species

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4th Annual National Invasive Species Forum

February 12-14, 2019, Ottawa Ontario

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Ottawa | Feb 28 - Mar 2, 2017

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Canada’s Waters Need Protection from Invasive Species

Press release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Canada’s Waters Need Protection from Invasive Species

April 17, 2019 (British Columbia)—The recent Auditor General Report on Aquatic Invasive Species states that ‘Canada’s lakes, rivers and oceans are poorly protected against invasive species. Canada has more than 20% of the world’s fresh water and three major coastlines. Protecting our waters from the destructive impacts of invasive species is vital in order to protect our rich natural environment, our communities and economy. Aquatic invasive species can damage fisheries, shipping, aquaculture, and tourism, put stress on ecosystem functions, processes, and structures, litter beaches and foul docks and damage hydroelectric and drinking water filtration facilities.

The costs associated with managing aquatic invasive species are high. For example, according to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, Canada and the United States budgeted about $40 million CAD combined in the 2019–20 fiscal year to control just one species—sea lamprey—that has significantly affected Great Lakes fisheries. The European water chestnut, an invasive aquatic plant, has been found in the Rideau River and grows so thick on the surface of lakes and rivers that it can impeded boating and swimming.

Released by Canada’s Commissioner of the Environment and of Sustainable Development, the Auditor General report outlines specific actions that can protect our fresh and marine waters. This includes increased research, planning and enforcement of current regulations. Current gaps, such as a list of high priority aquatic invasive plants, lack of a national mapping platform and the need for increased enforcement of current regulations, are identified as high priority actions.  The report also calls for strong leadership by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Canada Border Services Agency and to identify clear roles across governments who have shared concerns and responsibilities for healthy waters. 

The Canadian Council on Invasive Species (the Council) commends Fisheries and Oceans Canada on their work thus far to implement high priority actions which will close our borders to new invasive species (plants and animals) and immediately respond to new threats. 

Continued strong and increased leadership by Fisheries and Oceans Canada is welcomed!  Our waters must be protected from new invasive species.  Action is needed to protect lakes from ‘dumped’ aquatic plants such as Brazilian elodia, water soldier or floating yellow heart.  Stopping the release of ‘pets’,even the ‘little goldfish’ or protecting the west from boaters moving zebra/quagga mussels are all key areas that need to enforced.  Prevention is key and requires strong leadership and collaboration.  TheCouncil remains ready to partner with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and others to provide Canadians the awareness and tools to take responsible actions to protect our important waters.

Protecting our waters is clearly a significant challenge which requires federal leadership and collaboration and the contribution of all Canadians to stop the introduction of new invasive species. The Council calls on all partners, government and non-government, to work together to help prevent introductions into Canada and across provincial and territorial borders.  Increased collaboration, an open and accessible national mapping platform and public engagement are shared priorities identified by the Council. Engaging Canadians, a key focus for the Council, will support the Auditor’s call for stronger enforced federal regulation.

 

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About the Canadian Council on Invasive Species

The Canadian Council on Invasive Species works collaboratively across jurisdictional boundaries to build awareness, increase responsible actions and provide tools and information to help reduce the threat and impacts of invasive species. Provincial/territorial chapters, Indigenous, business and government representatives all work to guide this federal society and work together to reduce the impact of invasive species across the country.  For more information and to get involved, visit our website. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook: @CanadaInvasives
 

Media contact:

Barry Gibbs, Executive Director, Canadian Council on Invasive Species

execdirector@canadainvasives.ca

P: 403-850-5977   

Canadian Council on Invasive Species

250-305-9161 or 403-850-5977
info@canadainvasives.ca
www.canadainvasives.ca