urged to stop alien aquatic species
Ottawa - Canada must take urgent action to prevent alien
species such as the Asian carp from being dumped in the
Great Lakes or face catastrophic consequences, warns Herb
Gray, Canadian head of the International Joint Commission.
Mr. Gray, who met with his U.S. counterpart Tuesday,
said Canada should adopt binding regulations on ship ballast
like those in the United States, rather than the existing
He also called for legislation allowing restrictions
on imports of live fish, noting one million kilograms
of live fish are imported to Toronto every year.
The Asian carp, a jumping fish of no commercial value,
is capable of wiping out the Great Lakes sports fishery
which is worth billions of dollars and employs hundreds
of thousands of people, he warned.
"The effects would be catastrophic," said Mr. Gray,
who joined the commission after leaving his job as deputy
prime minister and MP for Windsor.
"Basically we believe that action should be taken now."
The Asian carp was deliberately brought into U.S. waters
to clean private catfish farms, but soon escaped and is
now a major problem.
The carp is being kept out of the Great Lakes by an
electronic barrier on the American side but two of the
fish have been found in Canada, said U.S. Commissioner
One fish was found in a fountain in Toronto while the
other was in Lake Ontario, said Mr. Schornack.
Mr. Schornack said Canada should have a National Invasive
Species Act like that in the United States.
"We'd like to see parallel binding regulations. This
is a binational gateway, we ought to regulate it, monitor
it and keep invasive species out as a matter of binational
The carp is just one in a series of alien invasive species
that have wreaked havoc in the Great Lakes, from the sea
lamprey to the zebra mussel.
The discharge of ballast water from vessels coming from
other parts of the world is considered the single most
important source for alien species in the Great Lakes.
About 80 per cent of vessels entering the lakes report
"no ballast on board" - thereby escaping ballast water
regulations - even though they often contain a significant
amount of residual unpumpable ballast water.
The commission has recommended significant investment
in ballast-water treatment technologies such as filtration,
heat and ultraviolet light.