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Reducing alien species invasions

Target 6.4: Managing threats to ecosystems – Threats of new alien invasive species entering Canada are understood and reduced by 2015.

Canada has taken action to manage risks to ecosystems from invasive alien species. From 2005–2010, it committed $85 million to implement an Invasive Alien Species Strategy for Canada. This strategy emphasizes preventing the entry of new alien species by air, land and water, and responding quickly to prevent the establishment of those species that have arrived. The government addresses key pathways associated with trade and travel, and expands and refines programs related to risk assessment, regulatory development, border inspections, outreach and education.

Invasive species such as Asian carp have the potential to profoundly alter the Great Lakes and other freshwater ecosystems across Canada, as they compete with native fishes for food, space and spawning habitat. Possession of live Asian carp is prohibited in Ontario, and the governments of Canada and Ontario have significantly increased the number of border inspections of live fish destined for Ontario food markets.

In May 2012, the government announced new funding totalling $17.5 million over five years to protect Canada's Great Lakes from the threat of Asian carp. The funding will support education, development of an early warning and monitoring system with United States, and rapid response planning.

Recent amendments to the Fisheries Act provide explicit regulation making authorities to address the threat of aquatic invasive species. The federal government is currently working with provinces and territories to develop a national aquatic invasive species regulatory proposal for prohibiting possession, transport and import of aquatic invasive species, and establishing authorities for control and eradication activities.

In the past, some invasive non-native species have entered Canadian waters through the exchange of ballast water from ships arriving in Canada from overseas locations. In 2004, the International convention for the Control and Management of Ship's Ballast Water and Sediments was adopted. This convention, in conjunction with a binational inspection program between Canada and the U.S. established in 2006, helped to prevent ships from overseas locations that enter the Great Lakes from releasing any ballast water that may contain invasive non-native species into the waters of the Great Lakes. Since these programs have been in place, no new invasive non-native species attributable to ballast water from ships have been reported in the Great Lakes.

Since these programs have been in place, no new nonnative species attributable to ship ballast have been reported in the Great Lakes.

For additional information on the implementation strategies that support this target, please consult the following websites: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Canada Border Services Agency, Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Natural Resources Canada and Transport Canada.

Progress towards Target 6.4: Invasive species

Options for an invasive alien species indicator(s) have been identified and are being assessed. Information for this indicator will be available on the CESI website at a later date.

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