Prevent the introduction and control the spread of invasive exotic species

Invasive exotic species, whether plant or animal, are a significant threat to biodiversity: they can cause a decline in indigenous species and irreversibly upset the natural balance that existed before their introduction.

Learn more about our projects that stem from this orientation.

Evaluate the effects of invasive exotic fish on freshwater mussels indigenous to the St. Lawrence

Several species of freshwater mussels in the St. Lawrence are at risk: six are on the list of species likely to be designated as threatened or vulnerable under Quebec legislation, and another is considered to be endangered by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The purpose of this research project is to evaluate the hypothesis that the round goby would act as an “imposter” host for the larvae of certain species of indigenous mussels and would damage their recruitment and spread. The situation could also be the opposite: the goby could be a compatible host for mussel larvae, which would thus be favoured.

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Coordinate initiatives relating to aquatic invasive species and priority vectors of introduction

Fisheries and Oceans Canada has conducted risk assessments concerning the introduction of aquatic invasive species and of related vectors of introduction. The selection of species and vectors for these assessments has so far been based on consultations carried out by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the National Aquatic Invasive Species Committee (NAISC). Incorporating stakeholders affected by this issue into the process will help to build further consensus and harmonize intervention priorities.

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Develop shared information and awareness tools about invasive exotic species

Although some invasive exotic species have been introduced into the St. Lawrence ecosystem inadvertently, others have been added voluntarily with similar undesirable effects. As a result, education is the most effective approach for limiting their spread. The pooling of various initiatives and information and awareness raising tools about invasive exotic species can help to harmonize approaches and the messages conveyed. This exercise will also assist in planning and developing new tools and documents that are more general in nature for wider distribution.

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Harmonize detection and monitoring programs and activities relating to aquatic invasive species and identify problems

A number of participants and collaborators in the St. Lawrence Action Plan 2011-2026 are carrying out activities to detect and monitor the spread of aquatic invasive species. The harmonization of these programs and activities will support the identification of any gaps in terms of geographic sectors, species or habitats and assist in the development of complementary programs and activities to address these gaps.

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

In addition to their capacity to survive in a range of different habitats and climates, aquatic invasive species typically have few or no predators and are less vulnerable to disease. These two factors help them to spread quickly, thereby disrupting the equilibrium of their adopted environment, often irreversibly. In this context, response plans will be developed to set out priority actions and identify the organizations designated to respond in the event new aquatic invasive species are discovered. Simulation exercises will also be conducted to prepare stakeholders for taking effective, coordinated action to limit the spread of these species.

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Harmonize databases on aquatic invasive species

Several participants and collaborators have compiled databases on aquatic invasive species. Harmonizing the information held in these databases will make it easier to compile a general picture of the situation.

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Develop an aquatic invasive species component at the St. Lawrence Global Observatory

A number of participants and collaborators in the St. Lawrence Action Plan 2011-2026 have been producing and disseminating a broad variety of data and information concerning aquatic invasive species. Developing a component on these species at the St. Lawrence Global Observatory will help to increase access to this information both to the public and the organizations that produced it.

Read the backgrounder for this project.

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