March 5, 2003
IJC commends introduction of
National Aquatic Invasive Species Act
The International Joint Commission (IJC) commends the introduction into the
U.S. Congress of the National Aquatic Invasive Species Act (NAISA).
While by practice the IJC does not comment on specific provisions in domestic
legislative proposals, it has identified the need for urgent federal action to
address aquatic invasive species, the leading threat to the biological
integrity of the Great Lakes ecosystem.
"This is an ambitious bill," said Dennis Schornack, chair of the IJC's
Section. "Successfully addressing the full scope of issues it contains would
represent major progress toward closing the doors to biological invaders while
keeping the doors open for maritime commerce."
"The IJC is encouraged by the attention given to Aquatic Invasive Species
by the U.S. Congress and looks forward to similar legislative initiatives in
Canada," stated Canadian Section Chair Herb Gray.
The bill introduced today would focus on prevention, screening, response,
research and coordination with neighboring countries. The legislation asks the
U.S. Government to negotiate with Canada on directing the IJC to study laws and
enforcement practices on both sides of the border and recommend means to
improve and harmonize the policies and enforcement practices.
The IJC has called on the Governments of the United States and Canada to
coordinate actions in taking more aggressive steps to end the invasion of alien
species to the Great Lakes basin ecosystem in its 11th Biennial Report on Great
Lakes Water Quality and in a February 11, 2003 appearance before the Standing
Committee on Fisheries and Oceans of the Canadian House of Commons. The full
text of the 11th Biennial Report and the Commissioners presentations to the
Standing Committee are available at
Frank Bevacqua, Washington, D.C. (202) 736-9024
Fabien Lengellé, Ottawa, ON (613) 995-0088