Aquatic Invasive Species

An aquatic invader is a non-native species, whose introduction will likely cause (or has already caused) damage to the host ecosystem, existing species therein, the economy or human well-being. Invasive species thrive in the absence of their natural predators and have the potential to drastically alter habitat, rendering it inhospitable for native species.

Aquatic invasive species (AIS) have already been responsible for significant devastation of some native fish species and fisheries in Canada. Annually, the problem is responsible for billions of dollars in lost revenue and control measures. Canada, with its huge freshwater resources and extensive coastlines, is especially vulnerable to this threat. Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s environmental science knowledge and resources play an invaluable role in the government’s efforts to address the problem. As an example, the department provided scientific advice on alternate ballast water exchange zones. (Ballast water contained on international ships is a major pathway by which invasive species can enter Canadian waters.) The work done by our scientists facilitated Transport Canada's proposed revisions of the Canada Shipping Act Ballast Water Regulations.

Consultations on the Proposed Aquatic Invasive Species Regulations

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is proposing new federal regulations to manage and control aquatic invasive species in Canada. The proposed Aquatic Invasive Species Regulations were pre-published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on December 6th, 2014.

Funding and Collaborative Research on Aquatic Invasive Species

Fisheries and Oceans Canada provides funding to universities and organizations, through established funding programs, for new projects on aquatic invasive species. In addition, DFO collaborates with other levels of governments and national and international organizations to ensure a coordinated and effective approach to aquatic invasive species. Together, these efforts complement the work already undertaken by federal scientists to ensure the best science-based advice and decision-making.

The Canadian Action Plan to Address the Threat of Aquatic Invasive Species (PDF 101,69 KB), was approved by the Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (CCFAM), and outlines a national approach for managing AIS.

The Aquatic Invasive Species Identification Booklet contains information on major species that have invaded marine environments in eastern Canada, how to identify them and what you can do to prevent their spread and establishment.