Aquatic Invasive Species

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors’ and Premiers’ Aquatic Invasive Species Task Force works to stop the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) into the Great Lakes St. Lawrence River Basin

Overview

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors’ and Premiers’ Aquatic Invasive Species Task Force works to stop the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) into the Great Lakes St. Lawrence River Basin and protect the region’s $7 billion fishery. Since its inception, the Task Force has coordinated state and provincial efforts to combat AIS through strategic regional action. The Governors’ and Premiers’ priorities include:

  • Taking aggressive action against high-risk AIS
  • Promoting regional cooperation across borders
  • Fostering collaboration among AIS experts, fisheries experts, and law enforcement officials

In the past five years, the Governors’ and Premiers’ leadership has resulted in major progress. Key accomplishments include:

  • A “least wanted” list of 21 AIS that threaten the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Basin. The States and Provinces have taken more than 50 separate actions to restrict these high-risk species.
  • A groundbreaking Mutual Aid Agreement that facilitates cooperative response actions and the sharing of staff, expertise and resources between jurisdictions in the event of an AIS invasion. To implement this Agreement, the States and Provinces have organized several multi-jurisdictional response exercises to build capacity and strengthen regional defenses.  
  • A regional AIS law enforcement initiative. This includes state and provincial participation in a Memorandum of Understanding that promotes information sharing and cross-border investigations. The Memorandum has been used in several inter-jurisdictional investigations pertaining to both invasive and endangered species.

AIS cost the U.S. and Canada billions of dollars in damages each year, burden the economy, and strain state, provincial and federal budgets. They pose a threat to human health and cause immeasurable ecological damage to native species, with consequences for our region’s sport and commercial fisheries, tourism and recreation. More than 180 nonnative species have been introduced into the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.  The Governors and Premiers are united in their efforts to combat further AIS invasions.

"Least Wanted" AIS

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers have identified the “least wanted” aquatic invasive species (AIS) that present an imminent threat to the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River region. In 2013, the Governors and Premiers committed to take priority action on the transfer of these species to and within the region. Since then, the states and provinces have taken more than 50 separate actions to restrict these high-risk AIS, and the US federal government has similarly restricted four of the species.

Click here for the complete list of "least wanted" AIS

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