October 23, 2002
REPORTS BY CANADA'S COMMISSIONER OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND THE U.S. GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE CONFIRM RECENT FINDINGS OF THE INTERNATIONAL JOINT COMMISSION ON ALIEN INVASIVE SPECIES
"We are pleased that these officials have reviewed the federal response to alien invasive species. The reports support the Commission's call for more aggressive action by the U.S. and Canadian governments." stated The Right Honourable Herb Gray, Chair of the IJC's Canadian Section.
"Alien invasive species are the single most significant stressor of native species in the Great Lakes, surpassing even habitat alteration," said IJC U.S. Section Chair Dennis Schornack. "We cannot afford to wait to prevent further invasions."
Alien invasive species, such as the zebra mussel and sea lamprey, have caused major environmental and economic damage in the Great Lakes basin and elsewhere. Once established, alien invasive species can result in irreversible impacts and significant ongoing control costs.
One month ago, the IJC issued its special biennial report on the administration of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. In that report the IJC recommended that the governments act more quickly and effectively to end the invasion of the Great Lakes by alien invasive species. Actions recommended in its Eleventh Biennial Report on Great Lakes Water Quality to stop the introduction of invasive species via ocean-going ships include:
- Issue mandatory ballast water management practices;
- Develop uniform protocols for performance testing of ballast water;
- Install treatment technology on new ships;
- Create economic incentives to encourage improved ballast management;
- Fund research in critical areas;
- Ask the IJC to coordinate and harmonize binational efforts for action to stop this ongoing threat to the economy and biological integrity of the Great Lakes.