Protecting Environment and Native Wildlife by Banning Damaging Species
Ontario is prohibiting and restricting 19 invasive species to prevent their arrival and control their spread in the province and protect the environment.
New regulations under the Invasive Species Act, now in effect, ban the import, breeding, purchase and sale of 19 invasive species within Ontario, including Asian carp and phragmites, which threaten the province’s environment and economy. The new rules also allow government to establish special restrictions in certain areas of the province if these species are discovered, and to enforce strong penalties for individuals who knowingly bring these species into Ontario.
These preventative measures will help keep the least wanted species from entering Ontario and the Great Lakes, and will provide supports to increase on-the-ground efforts to combat and eradicate invasive species, including through partnerships with local organizations.
“The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters welcomes the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry’s listing of 19 species under the Invasive Species Act as a critical step in the battle against invasive species. We know the damage these species can cause to our native fish and wildlife, which is why, in partnership with the ministry, we deliver the Invading Species Awareness Program and provide public education and information on invasive species.”
- Ontario provides annual support to the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters to deliver the Invading Species Awareness Program to track invasive species sightings and provide public education and outreach.
- While some of the regulated species are not currently found in Ontario, most are present in the waters of neighbouring states, or have been identified as having a high potential for being introduced into the Great Lakes basin.
- Phragmites and some other species are present in some parts of Ontario, but through proper mitigation methods can be contained or even removed.
- Invasive species often out-compete native species for food and take over their habitats, threatening both the environment and economy.
- Penalties for individuals who contravene the Invasive Species Act include fines of up to $250,000 or one year in jail.
- Since its creation in 2011, the Invasive Species Centre has received $10 million from Ontario to combat invasive species.
- In 2013, the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers published a list of aquatic invasive species that they called their least wanted—these are all now prohibited in Ontario.
Photo courtesy of Kate Gardiner.