Develop joint action and response plans in the event of detection of aquatic invasive species

Context and project description

Two major factors allow aquatic invasive species (AIS) to quickly flourish in their adopted environment: the newcomers are general organisms that can survive significant changes in salinity, temperature, light, oxygen levels and turbidity of the water, and they have hyper-performing reproductive mechanisms that give them a considerable advantage over indigenous species. The balance in the natural environment can be disrupted, sometimes irreversibly, hence the importance of acting quickly when new species are detected in the St. Lawrence or in certain sectors in which they were previously absent.

It is in this context that a rapid response plan will be applied if new AIS are discovered. This document will be adapted to respond to problems observed in fresh water and in marine environments, and will be developed as an emergency plan: priority actions to be taken and designation of an organization responsible for those actions, with the full chain of communication needed, clearly and precisely. Once the plan is prepared, those in charge will hold simulation exercises to prepare all stakeholders to act together and efficiently to limit dispersion of the species detected. These exercises will focus respectively with a marine species, a freshwater animal and a saltwater plant.

Results

The response plan is almost ready, and work on it will continue in the 2016–2021 phase. The work completed up till now has improved emergency response actions. When finalized, the response plan, which is adapted to the various threats posed by potential introductions of aquatic invasive species, will reduce the risk of introduction and spread of these undesirable species in the environment.

Participating departments

Government of Canada

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Government of Quebec

  • Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques
  • Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation