Aquatic invasive species: Management action plan

Aquatic invasive species: Management action plan
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Reports of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development

Report 1 – Aquatic invasive species
Date: Spring 2019

The complete version of Report 1 – Aquatic invasive species from the Spring 2019 Reports of Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development.

Report 1 – Aquatic invasive species - Spring 2019
Commissioner’s recommendations Departmental response to recommendations Actions taken to date to address recommendations Offices of primary interest
Recommendation 1.36:
Fisheries and Oceans Canada should develop and implement a coherent approach to determine which biological and socio-economic risk assessments are needed and conduct them.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada is currently developing a systematic approach for determining which biological and socio-economic risk assessments should be conducted, and will build on previously developed screening tools. Risks assessments will be undertaken based on capacity. By March 31, 2021, Fisheries and Oceans Canada will develop, in consultation with partners, a systematic approach to determine which biological and socio-economic risk assessments are needed. A national committee comprised of science representatives from each region will be established to identify resources, needs and prioritize requests for biological risk assessments. Co-led by the Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Oceans Science and the Assistant Deputy Minister, Aquatic Ecosystems

Input from the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic Policy
Recommendation 1.40:
Fisheries and Oceans Canada should develop or coordinate a national database or platform that would allow it and stakeholders to track and share information about species introductions and spread. This information would help the Department make informed decisions about where to focus its resources for prevention and monitoring activities.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada agrees to develop or coordinate a national data platform, which could inform the Department’s decision making for resource allocation and management activities.

In order to truly capture a national picture, Fisheries and Oceans Canada will have to rely on provinces, territories, and other partners and stakeholders to share or to freely allow access to their data and information, particularly for areas where the Department has not previously conducted research or monitoring.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada will prepare and assess options for the creation of a data platform by March 31, 2022. Actions may include:
  • Intra-departmental discussions to determine data needs, review best practices and examine feasibility and costs; and
  • Intergovernmental and inter-departmental discussions to determine stakeholder needs and capacity to contribute.
Assistant Deputy Minister Aquatic Ecosystems

Input from the Assistant Deputy Minister, Ecosystems and Oceans Science
Recommendation 1.53:
Fisheries and Oceans Canada should develop and implement a science-based process to identify the species, pathways, or areas to include in the Aquatic Invasive Species Regulations.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada will develop a listing process for adding new species under Aquatic Invasive Species Regulations. This will be done in close collaboration with provinces and territories through the National Aquatic Invasive Species Committee. The listing process will incorporate scientific information, including results from screening-level, biological and socio-economic risk analyses, as well as, cost-benefit analyses required under Canada’s Regulatory Process. Fisheries and Oceans Canada will develop a listing process for national endorsement by the Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers by March 31, 2021. The process will identify and nominate species for addition to the Aquatic Invasive Species Regulations and will incorporate science and socio-economic considerations. Assistant Deputy Minister, Aquatic Ecosystems
Recommendation 1.56:
Fisheries and Oceans Canada should consult the provinces and territories to clarify roles and responsibilities for preventing the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species, including freshwater plants.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada will continue to meet regularly with provincial and territorial governments to discuss our respective roles and responsibilities, including freshwater invasive plants. For example, the Department is currently discussing a formal agreement with the Province of British Columbia regarding the management of freshwater and marine invasive species in that province. In New Brunswick, the Department has initiated discussions around roles and responsibilities for freshwater invasive species with the hope of establishing a formal agreement. Further, by collaborating with provinces and territories through the National Aquatic Invasive Species Committee, the Department has the opportunity to facilitate discussions and maintain strong working relationships.

While Fisheries and Oceans Canada is the lead for managing aquatic invasive species in Canada, it is a shared responsibility across numerous federal departments, including but not limited to Environment and Climate Change Canada, Parks Canada, Transport Canada, Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency, National Defence, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada will consult with provinces and territories to clarify roles and responsibilities, including for freshwater plants, by March 31, 2020, and assess the need for formal or informal agreements delineating roles and responsibilities. Assistant Deputy Minister, Aquatic Ecosystems
Recommendation 1.59:
In consultation with the provinces, territories and other partners, Fisheries and Oceans Canada should develop and communicate a strategy to guide its resource allocation decisions, so that it can prevent the establishment of aquatic invasive species.
The Budget 2017 announcement to prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species provided some direction for resource allocation. Funding increases incrementally over five years and includes a total of thirteen new program staff across the country and seven new fishery officers to be deployed to Central & Arctic and Québec regions by 2020/2021, aligning with the priority in our Minister’s mandate letter to increase the protection of freshwater resources in the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River, and Lake Winnipeg basins. However, as funding was significantly less than our identified needs, we will make risk-based decisions regarding the resources allocated to protect fish and fish habitat from aquatic invasive species.

As the implementation and enforcement of the Aquatic Invasive Species Regulations is a responsibility shared by the federal and provincial governments, Fisheries and Oceans Canada will continue to engage provinces, territories, and other partners through the National Aquatic Invasive Species Committee and other appropriate means.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada will draft a strategy to help guide resource allocation, informed by the Canadian Action Plan to Address the Threat of Aquatic Invasive Species, and present it to the National Aquatic Invasive Species Committee by December 31, 2019 Assistant Deputy Minister, Aquatic Ecosystems

Input from the Assistant Deputy Minister, Fisheries and Harbour Management
Recommendation 1.73:
Fisheries and Oceans Canada should analyze and fill gaps in its enforcement of the Aquatic Invasive Species Regulations, including:
  • developing and implementing a national strategy to enforce the Regulations, and
  • working with the Canada Border Services Agency to address risks associated with watercraft and prohibited imports.
Budget 2017 allocated $43.8 million over five years to prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species. Under this initiative, enforcement capacity will be increased by a total of seven new fishery officers (four in 2019/2020 and three in 2020/2021), who will be deployed to Central & Arctic and to the Quebec region in a manner that reflects alignment with the priority in our Minister’s mandate letter to increase the protection of freshwater resources in the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River, and Lake Winnipeg basins. To ensure the efficient use of these limited resources, Fisheries and Oceans Canada will develop a strategy for verifying compliance and enforcing the Aquatic Invasive Species Regulations.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada will continue to work with the Canada Border Services Agency and through the National Aquatic Invasive Species Committee.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada will draft a national enforcement strategy by September 30, 2019. This includes the following ongoing and planned actions:
  • Establish an Aquatic Invasive Species Enforcement Working Group.
  • Engage the Aquatic Invasive Species Enforcement Working Group, the Aquatic Invasive Species Program and other relevant partners in developing the Aquatic Invasive Species Enforcement Strategy.
  • Complete draft for the Aquatic Invasive Species Enforcement Strategy.
  • Submit Enforcement Strategy draft for approval by senior management.
  • Launch of the Strategy by September 30, 2019.
Assistant Deputy Minister, Fisheries and Harbour Management

Input from the Assistant Deputy Minister, Aquatic Ecosystems
Recommendation 1.76:
Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency should develop and implement the procedures, tools, and training that border services officers need to assist in enforcing the Aquatic Invasive Species Regulations. The Department should also do this for fishery officers and fishery guardians.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency will work collaboratively to continue to develop and implement tools to support fishery and border services officers in enforcing the  Aquatic Invasive Species Regulations.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada provided training to its fishery officers when the Regulations came into force in 2015. Additional information was further provided as part of the officers’ annual training. The Department is developing enhanced training on the Regulations for border services officers and will also develop procedures, tools, and training for its fishery officers by March 31, 2020.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada will complete the following ongoing and planned actions by the deadline of March 31, 2020:
  • Initiate discussions and brainstorm within Conservation and Protection regions, and Aquatic Invasive Species Core Program, and with Canada Border Services Agency.
  • Develop a process that clarifies the roles and responsibilities of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Canada Border Services Agency to implement the import prohibition in the Aquatic Invasive Species Regulations.
  • Develop material on aquatic invasive species to be used in fishery officer cadet training in the fall of 2019.
  • Launch new aquatic invasive species online training for fishery officers.
Assistant Deputy Minister, Fisheries and Harbour Management

Input from the Assistant Deputy Minister, Aquatic Ecosystems
Recommendation 1.88:
Fisheries and Oceans Canada should develop response plans for species that have a high risk of becoming established and causing environmental or economic impacts, or for areas where there is a high risk of this occurring.
Early detection and response are critical for preventing the establishment and spread of aquatic invasive species in Canadian waters. Fisheries and Oceans Canada has identified the development of response plans for high-risk species and areas as a priority.

The Department will review and build upon the science-based Canadian Rapid Response Framework for Aquatic Invasive Species (2011) to develop a national response strategy to guide regional plans. In accordance with these frameworks and informed by on-going monitoring and early detection activities, each region will develop response plans adapted to their respective high-risk species or areas, which is critical for responding effectively to emergency situations. The successes of the Asian Carp Program and the development and implementation of the Department’s Strategic Response Plan will inform the development of response plans in other regions.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada will draft a national response strategy by December 31, 2019. A Response Plan Task Team has been established to develop the strategy, from which regional plans can be developed. Assistant Deputy Minister, Aquatic Ecosystems