Invasive Species: Keeping Them Out of Our Waterways

When foreign species invade our waters they can rapidly expand their range, eat native species, and compete for food and habitat. They can also introduce and spread disease.

The most effective way to manage invasive species is by prevention and that’s why we are asking you to a play a role in keeping invasive species away from our waterways and ensuring established invasives are not moved from one lake to another.

Boaters should:
  • Clean boats and gear before leaving the water
  • Drain all standing water from boats and live wells
  • Let boats dry in the sun for two to seven days before launching in another waterbody
  • Rinse boats with hot water over 50°C
Anglers should:
  • Use bait lawfully; it’s illegal to bring live fish or leeches for use as bait into Ontario from another province or country.
  • Use local bait; get your bait as close as possible to where you plan on fishing
  • Never dump bait into the water; bait must be disposed of at least 30 metres from shore
  • Get a licence from the ministry if transporting live fish; it’s illegal to transport live fish, other than baitfish, taken from Ontario waters without a licence or permit

Conservation officers also have a big role in protecting Ontario from the threat of invasive species and will be checking bait buckets, boats, and live wells. They will also be inspecting live fish markets, pet stores to look for fish like Asian Carp, and even garden centres to look for fish plants like parrot feather and water soldier.

To report a natural resource violation, call the MNRF TIPS line at 1-877-847-7667 toll-free anytime, or contact your local MNRF office during regular business hours. You can also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).


One Reply to “Invasive Species: Keeping Them Out of Our Waterways”

  1. This aquatic version of “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers” is sure to get everyone’s attention. Most importantly, the first plan of attack is to become very acquainted with your adversary concerning the habits and life styles of these dastardly beings. So, let us begin there.

    Perusing the internet I came upon a website explaining in extreme detail, the creatures we are dealing with at the moment.

    For instance :

    In terms of damage to ecosystem services, a study has found that Grass Carp populations have
    the potential to nearly completely remove aquatic plants, influence other major changes
    resulting in the loss of ecosystem services such as nutrient cycle control.

    Grass Carp, an AIS (Aquatic Invasive Species) from North American perspective, is well-known to be responsible for significant impacts on native species. Grass Carp can disrupt the balance of aquatic life in lakes/rivers, because of their aggressive eating behaviour, high reproductive rate, and lack of natural North American predators. This allows them to out compete and crowd out native fish species, including fish that are popular for commercial
    and/or recreational fishing.

    Secondly, “What in tarnation can we humanoids do to reverse the blight we have imposed on our ecosystem? In my estimation, not much. Mother Nature, as usual, is probably our only recourse.

    As I have previously explained, “I don’t mean we should sit back and do nothing, but since this introduction has occurred it would appear almost impossible to scour the depths of every Great Lake hunting it down to extinction. That is not likely to happen, considering the spawning rate of these Carp species. Look at the proliferation of the “Goby” for instance. People went ballistic when they showed up in the ecosystem and rightly so, but predator fish and birds, (the hated Cormorant for one) are making a meal of them. The same could be said for the Carp fry.”

    As you all know, invasive fish in the Great Lakes do not just include Asian Carp and Gobies. The fishing industry in their eagerness to up the ante and improve the sport of angling, have introduced, non indigenous Atlantic and Pacific Salmon along with the Common Carp from Asia. All for our so called recreational pleasure at natures expense.

    The question arises, “Have these non-native species had a similar effect on the Great Lakes ecosystem over the years as do the Asian Carp? Logically speaking, one would assume so but to what extent? Our recurring habit of solving one problem and creating another seems to be our downfall.

    Here is just one instance where greed exceeds need.

    A Niagara Falls, Ont., man has been fined $15,000 after he was caught flying into Canada with a suitcase full of leeches.

    Ippolit Bodounov tried to smuggle 4,788 live, medicinal leeches in his carry-on luggage on Oct. 17, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC). He’d just flown from Russia to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.

    Bodounov carried the leeches in a large reusable grocery bag, said Gerry Brunet, operations manager of ECCC’s wildlife enforcement directorate, based in Burlington, Ont. Within that bag were 10 smaller, dampened cloth bags.

    People have been harvesting the breed for medicinal purposes since medieval times, Kvist said. “New age medicine” practitioners use them for everything from lessening arthritis pain to preventing baldness, he said, although there’s no scientific proof that this works.

    The only proven use of leeches in medicine, he said, is to stimulate blood flow in reattached fingers and toes. In some cases, they also deter strokes. Medicinal leeches sell for between $8 and $20 per leech, he said.

    Not only are they threatened, and unregulated, but they’re an invasive species too. Kvist said some leech populations exclusive to Europe have been found in Alberta because people drop them in local lakes when they’re done with them.

    Think about it. These 4,788 live medical leeches at $8 to $20 per leech, would bring on the black market between $38,304 to $95,760. A tidy little illegal profit which would decimate the fishing industry in the process.

    So Ladies and Gentlemen shall we continue to pursue our selfish angling desires all at the ecosystems expense or walk in lock step with Mother Nature?

    One final word pertaining to a C.B.C. exclusive report.
    “Undercover Canadian government operation highlights global concerns around smuggling to feed Asian demand”!

    So Ladies and Gentlemen shall we continue to pursue our selfish angling desires, whether it be legally or otherwise, or walk in lock step with nature?

    I can certainly guarantee, Mother Nature will win every time.

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