Statement Article from  Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Joint statement on the release of the Binational Ecological Risk Assessment of Grass Carp for the Great Lakes Basin

January 27, 2017

Ottawa, Ontario – The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, and the Honourable Kathryn McGarry, Ontario’s Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry made the following statement today:

We confirm our joint commitment to the fight against Asian Carps in the Canadian waters of the Great Lakes following the release of the Binational Ecological Risk Assessment for Grass Carp in the Great Lakes Basin.

Both Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) recognize the critical importance of early intervention to prevent the establishment of invasive species. We share common goals of protecting the biodiversity and habitat of the Great Lakes and Ontario’s aquatic ecosystems. The results of the Binational Risk Assessment will be used to inform operational decisions by both our agencies and guide early detection and other operational efforts to keep Asian Carps out of our waters.

As noted in the Risk Assessment, the study concluded that Grass Carp, one of four Asian Carp species, have arrived in parts of the Great Lakes basin, specifically lakes Michigan, Erie and Ontario. The study also concluded that the ecological consequences of Grass Carp in most areas of the Great Lakes basin could be extreme within the next 50 years. Arrival is just the first stage of the introduction process and through continued collaboration at the highest levels of each agency we have an opportunity to halt the introduction of Grass Carp in the Canadian waters of the Great Lakes.

Both DFO and MNRF have together achieved numerous successes in the fight against Asian Carps to date:

  • Coordinated response and capture of 23 Grass Carp in the Canadian waters of the Great Lakes since 2012.
  • Biologists from MNRF and DFO continue to work closely together to collect information and share findings related to Asian Carps.
  • DFO and MNRF together implement a formal incident command system response following any find of Asian Carps in Ontario waters. The Response Plan ensures effective communications and maximizes the resources available from the various agencies involved.
  • Aquatic Invasive Species Regulations under the Fisheries Act came into force in 2015. These regulations provide a national regulatory framework to help prevent intentional and unintentional introduction of aquatic invasive species in Canada from other countries, across provincial and territorial borders, and between ecosystems within a region.
  • Ontario introduced the Invasive Species Act (ISA) in November 2015 that further prohibits the possession, transportation, import or sale of live invasive species, unless authorized by the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. The ISA is the only piece of legislation of its kind in North America.
  • Joint participation on the binational Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee (ACRCC), which oversees the extensive partnership efforts of government agencies on both sides of the border.
  • MNRF conducts inspections of food fish importers and monitors retailers for compliance. Conservation officers spend approximately 2,000 hours each year inspecting dozens of wholesale and import companies at more than a thousand different locations.
  • In 2011 and 2012, MNRF stopped six live-fish haulers, carrying more than 13 thousand kilograms of Asian Carps. Those seizures resulted in several convictions and more than $100,000 in fines.

We remain steadfastly committed to this fight and to the partnership between our agencies. Our future plans include:

  • Continued participation in the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee.
  • On-going enforcement and inspection operations.
  • On-going research within both agencies towards a better understanding of aquatic invasive species in general and Asian Carps in particular.
  • The coordination of a Binational Ecological Risk Assessment for Black Carp.
  • A joint DFO and MNRF on-water Asian Carp response exercise near Lake Erie planned for April 2017.

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For more information:

Laura Gareau
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
613-992-3474 
Laura.Gareau@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Hilary Prince
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Communications
905-336-4974
Hilary.Prince@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Emily Kirk
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Minister’s Office
416-314-2206

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Media Desk
Communications Services Branch
416-314-2106

Internet: http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca
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