December 5, 2014 - Kelowna, British Columbia
The Member of Parliament for Okanagan-Coquihalla, Dan Albas and the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country, Ron Cannan, hosted a roundtable discussion today in Kelowna on new proposed regulations on aquatic invasive species following an earlier announcement by the Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, in London, Ontario.
The proposed Aquatic Invasive Species Regulations would provide a national regulatory framework to help prevent intentional and unintentional introductions of aquatic invasive species in Canada from other countries, across provincial and territorial borders, and between ecosystems within a region. It would also provide measures to facilitate response and control activities. For example, these regulations would give Canadian Border Services Agency officers the ability to enforce prohibitions against import at the Canadian border.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada developed the proposed regulations in consultation with federal, provincial and territorial governments, with a common goal aimed at addressing the threat of aquatic invasive species and protecting the economic well-being of Canadian waters.
The proposed Aquatic Invasive Species Regulations will be published on December 6th, 2014 in the Canada Gazette, Part I, for a 30-day public comment period.
- Aquatic invasive species are aquatic organisms that, upon introduction to areas or waters where they are not indigenous, can have harmful consequences to fish or fish habitat. Many non-native species threaten B.C.’s aquatic and riparian ecosystems, Zebra and Quagga mussels for instance.
- The regulations would manage aquatic invasive species through a risk-based approach that lists aquatic invasive species in three categories based on severity of the risk and subjects species identified on each list to specific prohibitions and management measures.
- Zebra and Quagga mussels are included in the initial list of species expected to be managed as part of the proposed regulations, which includes prohibitions against transport, possession and import of Zebra and Quagga mussels from British Columbia east to Manitoba.
“Our Government is committed to protecting our recreational and commercial fishing industries by keeping our waterways safe from invasive species. Since 2006, we have invested in science, prevention, early warning, rapid response and management and control. We must remain vigilant in these efforts. These proposed new regulations under the Fisheries Act will bolster our ability to fight the entry and establishment of aquatic invasive species and give those stewards of our fish and fish habitats more ammunition to fight.”
The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
“Ensuring the health and productivity of Okanagan Lake and freshwater systems throughout British Columbia is a priority for our Government. We must remain vigilant in our fight against aquatic invaders like Zebra mussels. With these new proposed regulations we are following through with our commitment to protect Canada’s waterways, fish and local economies as well as on our commitment to hardworking Canadians and their families.”
Member of Parliament for Okanagan-Coquihalla Dan Albas
“Our waterways and ocean support commercial and recreational fishing and shape British Columbian communities. Our Government is committed to preventing and mitigating the damage caused by invasive species through the implementation of our proposed regulations. They include measures to ensure rapid response capabilities to effectively manage aquatic invasive species, including enabling the Canadian Border Services Agency to stop aquatic vessels at the border to check for invasive species. This will give British Columbians peace of mind while allowing our community’s recreational boating industry to continue to thrive”
Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country Ron Cannan
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
604-666-0646; 778-868-9384 (cell)
Follow us on Twitter!