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For Immediate Release

July 20th, 2001

The IJC and GLFC call for further action to
prevent aquatic species from invading Great Lakes

The biological integrity of the Great Lakes is in jeopardy from the ongoing introduction of alien invasive species from the discharge of ballast water. This warning was issued by the International Joint Commission (IJC) and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC) in a joint letter to the Governments of the United States and Canada , released today.

In the joint letter, the IJC and GLFC urge the Governments to act together to establish and implement standards, measures, and accountability mechanisms that will prevent the further introduction of alien invasive species to the Great Lakes ecosystem. It is the Commissions’ view that this issue is of crucial bi-national importance.

Alien invasive species, such as the sea lamprey and zebra mussel, threaten native species, reduce fish production and have other significant ecological and economic impacts. The IJC and GLFC note that an additional 17 alien invasive species have the potential to invade the Great Lakes, unless effective measures are taken to prevent their introduction through ballast water discharges.

In 1990, the IJC and GLFC jointly recommended ballast water exchange to prevent the further introduction of alien invasive species to the Great Lakes. While measures were implemented in both countries, they have not been fully effective. Additional invasive species have been found and two have become established in the Great Lakes.

The full text of the letter and related reports to governments can be found on both the IJC web site (www.ijc.org) and the GLFC web site (www.glfc.org) .

Contacts:
Marg Dochoda GLFC Ann Arbor, MI (734) 741-2077 x. 18
Frank Bevacqua IJC Washington, D.C. (202) 736-9024
Fabien Lengellé IJC Ottawa, ON (613) 995-0088

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