Exotic Policy

An IJC White Paper
On Policies for the Prevention of
The Invasion of the Great Lakes by Exotic Organisms

July 15, 1999

Eric Reeves


§ 1. Introduction: Coming to terms with the issue
§ 2. The continuing history of invasions: What they are, the damage they do, and where they come from
  § 2.1. Exotic, ANS, NIS, or what?
  § 2.2. Bad things in the water
       The sea lamprey
       The zebra mussel
       The ruffe
       Other invaders
  § 2.3. Dollars and damage
  § 2.4. Changing pathways for invasion over time
       Intentional and "Unintentional" and Releases
       Ballast water
  § 2.5. Future invasions
§ 3. The shipping industry and ballast water: Metric tonnes, dollars, and things getting through the cracks
  § 3.1. The global business of shipping
  § 3.2. Ships and the water they carry: A quick taxonomy of ship species
      Bulkers, tankers, and container ships
      Ships great and small
      Ballasting up
      Typical loads
      Moving the water around
      Counting metric tonnes
  § 3.3. The Great Lakes and Seaway System
      The Erie Canal
      The St. Lawrence Seaway
      The Great Lakes and Seaway maritime industry
      The third party salties
      The triangle trade
      Tonnage carried
      Paying for the Seaway
  § 3.4. Buying and renting ships
  § 3.5. The threat from ships: The biological island
      Hull fouling
      Marine sanitation devices (MSDs)
      Environmental benefits from shipping
  § 3.6. Ballast exchange: Making do and putting ships at risk
      The exchange requirement
      Defining "open ocean."
      The logic of exchange
      Effectiveness of the exchange regime
      The design of ballast tanks
      Breaking ships in half
      The infamous NOBOBs
      The effectiveness of exchange
      The bottom line
  § 3.7. Technical options for managing ballast water
      Open ocean exchange
      Ultraviolet light (UV)
      Shoreside treatment
      Getting serious about the options
§ 4. Aquaculture: Teach them to grow a fish
  § 4.1. Profile of the aquaculture industry
  § 4.2. Aquaculture technology
  § 4.3. The supply and transportation of organisms
      Aquaculture diseases
  § 4.4. Genetic modification
§ 5. Baitfish: The little fish that got away
§ 6. Aquaria and ornamental ponds: Exotics for sale
§ 7. Legal regimes for controlling ballast water: Acting locally and thinking globally
  § 7.1. Ten years of activity on ballast water: A quick review of the bidding
      The Great Lakes and the world
      Activity in other jurisdictions around the world
  § 7.2. California AB 703
  § 7.3. US NISA 96
      Comparing NISA 96 with other US pollution laws
      A mandate for delay
      A shell game over "safety."
      An 85% solution
  § 7.4. Canada Shipping Act
  § 7.5. MARPOL
§ 8. Legal regimes for control of aquaculture, bait, and aquaria: Holes in the dike
  § 8.1. State and provincial laws in the Great Lakes
  § 8.2. US and Canadian federal laws
      United States
§ 9. Binational regional coordination in the Great Lakes
§ 10. Political economics: The use and misuse of economics, and the political realities of environmental regulation
  § 10.1. The value of fish and steel: Putting down your money and making your choices
      Putting a price tag on the environment
      Perception of risk
  § 10.2. All the action is on the margins: Some familiar economic fallacies
      Compensating a failing industry
      Passing the costs along
      The lowest common denominator
  § 10.3. The policy options: Command, Litigation, Markets, unintended consequences, and real solutions
      Non-regulatory and quasi-regulatory approaches
      Regulation through prohibitions, permits, and prescriptions
      Regulation through private rights and liabilities
      Regulation through market incentives
Appendix: Terms and Acronyms

This paper has been prepared as part of the International Joint Commission Workshop on "Exotic Policy" on September 23, 1999, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The workshop and the white paper are cosponsored by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Office of the Great Lakes (MDEQ OGL). Some of the research supporting the white paper was conducted as part of a project previously funded by MDEQ OGL. The author served for five years as a senior US Coast Guard staff officer responsible for oversight of Coast Guard environmental programs in the Great Lakes, including the Great Lakes regime for control of exotic species in ballast water. He has a JD and an MA in political science (and is about to begin doctoral studies in international affairs and environmental policy at Carleton University in Ottawa). His works on the subject of exotics include M. Eric Reeves, "Techniques for the Protection of the Great Lakes from Infection by Exotic Organisms in Ballast Water," in Frank M. D'Itri, ed., Zebra Mussels and Aquatic Nuisance Species (Chelsea, MI: Ann Arbor Press, 1997) 283-299, and Eric Reeves, Analysis of Laws & Policies Concerning Exotic Invasions of the Great Lakes, a report commissioned by MDEQ OGL (Lansing, MI: MDEQ OGL, March 15, 1999).

Significant assistance in the preparation of this paper was provided by Ms. Margaret Dochoda, a biologist on the staff of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, who has published a number of papers on the subject of fisheries management in the Great Lakes, including Margaret Dochoda, "Meeting the Challenge of Exotics in the Great Lakes: The Role of an International Commission," Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (1991), vol. 48 (Supplement 1), pp. 171-176.

All opinions and errors are those of the author, and this paper does not constitute a policy statement of the IJC, the GLFC, or the MDEQ OGL. The purpose of this paper is to provide a basis for discussion.