Date: January 5, 2005
Release: Immediate

IJC responds on Aquatic Alien Invasive Species (AAIS)
and ocean-going shipping traffic

The Secretaries of the International Joint Commission (IJC) today issued the following statement in response to a report in the Detroit Free Press that the Regional Director of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement office said that she favours banning ocean-going vessels from entering the Great Lakes. The US secretary is Lisa Bourget and the Canadian secretary is Dr. Murray Clamen.

"We would like to make clear that any such statement is not the position of the Commission. The IJC has made a series of recommendations to prevent further introductions of aquatic invasive species in the Great Lakes. Specifically with regard to invasive species delivered via ballast water, we have recommended that the US and Canada adopt protective measures more stringent than the International Maritime Organization Convention and implemented sooner. The Commission has also recommended further study and assessment of management practices to minimize the threat of new invasions.

We continue to monitor this issue, remain ready to provide more assistance to Canada and the United States and urge both countries to work together in addressing this SERIOUS threat to the biological integrity of the Great lakes."

The IJC is a bi-national agency created by the Boundary Waters Treaty to prevent and resolve disputes and advise governments on trans-boundary water issues, including the Great Lakes. As part of its mandate, the IJC advises the United States and Canada on restoring the integrity of the waters of the Great Lakes ecosystem.


Nick Heisler: (613) 794-8198
John Nevin: (202) 256-1368

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