Federal Government Announces Invasive Species Regulations

Kelowna Now, Dec. 5, 2014: The federal government has announced proposed regulations to help in the fight against aquatic invasive species. Kelowna Lake Country MP Ron Cannan along with Okanagan Coquihalla MP Dan Albas introduced the government plan to implement a national regulatory framework. The proposed regulations will help prevent intentional and unintentional introductions of invasive species into Canada from other countries. Before the regulations are introduced there will be a 30 day public input comment period available to all Canadians and interested stakeholders.

“There’s lots of work we can do in the province and the federal government while the regulations are going through,” said Gail Wallin, Executive Director of the Invasive Species Council of BC. “We talk about the boating season (as a time to be concerned about) but research has shown that boaters come up from the south come at the end of the winter because they are snowbirds returning home. There is a whole body we can do and start today while waiting for the regulations.”

The regulations have been developed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, in consultation with the federal, provincial and territorial governments and will compel boaters to comply with the new rules.

“The compliance will be there, CBSA has done training so they are aware of the threat and they know how to assess it, but they don’t have the regulatory tools to compel someone,” explains Albas. “Fortunately boat owners are very responsible and those people who have been found to have these kinds of aquatic invasive species have complied voluntarily.”

If approved the regulations will be similar to those people face at the border when crossing in a vehicle or as a pedestrian.

“At the border for example they will be able to turn people around and spray off their boats and make sure they don’t transport it back into the country,” adds Cannan. “There will be an ability that wasn’t there before and part of that is trying to make sure people are aware and we can’t reinforce that enough.”

Aquatic invasive species pose a growing threat to Canada's freshwater and marine ecosystems. These species are difficult to control and contain, given the high rates of reproduction, the lack of predators, and their ability to thrive in different environments. The proposed regulations will be published on December 6th, 2014 in the Canada Gazette, Part 1.

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