June 04, 2003

IJC Welcomes Report Calling for Action to Combat Alien Invasive Species Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans Calls for Immediate Steps



Today, the International Joint Commission (IJC) welcomed the recent report of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans that urges the government of Canada to take quick and decisive action to combat the threat of alien invasive species in the Great Lakes. In particular, the report, "Aquatic Invasive Species: Uninvited Guests" recommends that "Canada seek a permanent reference to the IJC to coordinate and harmonize binational efforts to counter the threat of aquatic invasive species in the Great Lakes Basin."

In addition, the IJC strongly supports the committee's recommendation that the government of Canada commit to long-term funding for sea lamprey control, which is needed to keep the sea lamprey from devastating the Great Lakes fishery.

"This program is essential to the rehabilitation of the fishery," said the Rt. Honourable Herb Gray, chair of the Canadian section of the IJC. "We join the Standing Committee in urging Canada to guarantee stable, long-term funding of the sea lamprey control program, through the Great Lakes Fishery Commission."

In addition to calling for a reference to the IJC to develop a binational strategy, the report recommends that Canada:

  • establish a national mandatory ballast water management program, including standards for the treatment of ballast water;
  • establish emergency response centers to react to the threat of invasion;
  • implement a prevention strategy that includes inventorying species that pose the greatest risk and identifying and managing potential pathways;
  • prohibit the importation, sale or trade of certain species of Asian carp; and,
  • fund education and outreach programs to raise awareness about aquatic invasive species.

"This important report captures the urgency of quick action to slam shut the doors to invasion," said Dennis Schornack, chair of the United States section of the IJC. "We are gratified that the committee heard our presentations and transformed our recommendations into a detailed, comprehensive plan of action."

The text of the February 11th IJC briefing to the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans of the Canadian House of Commons is available at http://www.ijc.org/php/publications/html/ais_pres_e.html and the complete report of the standing committee is available at http://cmte.parl.gc.ca/Content/HOC/committee/372/fopo/reports/rp1032314/foporp04/foporp04-e.pdf