Joseph Lee Moderator • about 3 years ago
Problem Statement 15-17: "Develop a solution which addresses the issue of Aquatic invasive species (AIS) across North America."
Conservation; Fisheries Management
US Embassy Toronto
US Embassy Toronto
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Both the United States and Canada are members of several regional fishery management organizations. The countries share three oceans and the Great Lakes (containing 20 percent of the world’s fresh surface water). Forty percent of the U.S.-Canadian border is water.
• Canada’s annual fish and seafood exports were $4.4 billion in 2013.
• The United States is the main destination for Canadian seafood exports (63% of exports in 2010 – latest open-source data). Next largest markets are the EU, China, Japan (2010 data).
• Canada’s commercial fishing industry employs 80,000 people domestically and is the economic mainstay of 1,500 rural and coastal communities.
Develop a solution which addresses the issue of Aquatic invasive species (AIS) stemming from the places mentioned in the additional background.
• Aquatic Invasive Species: Aquatic invasive species (AIS) include plants are animals that are non-native to an ecosystem, and whose introduction is likely to cause economic, human health, commercial, or environmental damage in that ecosystem. Once established, it is extremely difficult to control their spread.
o North America:
Great Lakes: At least 25 AIS of fish have entered the Great Lakes since the 1800s, including Asian carp, zebra mussels, round goby, sea lamprey, Eurasian ruffe, alewife, and others. They have been responsible for increased degradation of coastal wetlands, loss of plant cover, and have caused problems at power plants, municipal water supplies, and have eliminated or decreased native populations in the ecosystem. Per the Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, zebra and quagga mussels have caused billions of dollars in economic and ecological damage to the Great Lakes, and have spread throughout North America.
• The U.S. and Canadian governments have coordinated along with eight state governments, two provincial governments, and regional and local programs to address this issue. Since 2010, the Obama Administration has committed over $260 million to protect the Great Lakes from Asian carp. In 2012, the Harper Government announced up to $17.5 million over five years to prevent the threat of Asian carp to Canada’s Great Lakes. An Asian carp science lab opened in Burlington, Ontario in July.
Ballast Water Regulation: Large boats have tanks in their hulls filled with seawater to counterbalance cargo weight, which boats then release at their destination – ballast – along with the species that happen to be inside. Some 45,000 cargo ships move more than 10 billion tons of ballast water around the world each year. Thirty percent of invasive species (according to the EPA) have been introduced in the Great Lakes through ballast water. The Coast Guard is currently in the process of developing ballast water discharge standards.
Natural Disasters: Discovery and continued findings of AIS on Japanese tsunami marine debris is a good example of new threats to coastal waters in North America.
Intentional human introduction: live bait releases, releases of pet species, intentional release of species outside of their native range for game fishing or control of other species.
o Global impact: AIS threaten native fish and the environment in all of the world’s oceans, rivers, and lakes with devastating ecological and economic effects. Estimated damage and control cost of invasive species in the U.S. alone amount to more than $138 billion annually.
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