Toronto, ON – Environmental Defence applauds the Government of Canada for new regulations that would protect Canadian waters from dangerous aquatic invasive species like Asian carp and zebra mussels. We hope the regulations will help Canada effectively manage aquatic invasive species, while protecting the environment.
The new regulations would improve collaboration between the federal and provincial governments to enable quick action when invasives are first detected, and better manage the spread of established invasive species in Canadian waters. The rules also prohibit the import, possession, transport and release of significant risk species – including Asian carp. Importantly, carp must now be gutted before being allowed to cross into Canada from the U.S. This is necessary to make sure that the fish is dead.
Asian carp are a significant threat to the Great Lakes. If they make it into the lakes, they could quickly destroy the ecosystem, along with native fish, the binational fishing industry valued at $7 billion US, and Ontario’s boating and tourism industries.
In our 2013 report, Tipping the Scales, we outlined existing gaps in the federal government’s Asian carp policy, many of which are addressed in the new rules.
While the regulations are mostly positive, we are concerned about the possible use of deleterious substances or drugs as means for controlling invasive species. All other possible avenues of control should be exhausted before contemplating the use of chemicals which can have significant negative environmental consequences.
Moving forward, we encourage the federal government to work closely with the U.S. government to support a permanent barrier on the Chicago Area Waterway System. This is the only way to guarantee that Asian carp do not get into the Great Lakes.   
Timing is of essence – if Asian carp get into one of the Great Lakes, there is little that can be done to stop them from invading the rest of the Great Lakes and Canadian waterways.     
To learn more about the threat of an Asian Carp invasion and what can be done, please download Environmental Defence’s report, Tipping the Scales: How Canada and Ontario Can Prevent an Asian Carp Invasion of the Great Lakes at environmentaldefence.ca/asiancarp.
About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.
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For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:
Jen Mayville, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext. 228; 905-330-0172 (cell); jmayville@environmentaldefence.ca