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Kelowna  

Tools to fight invasive species

MPs Ron Cannan and Dan Albas were in Kelowna Friday to announce proposed regulations to battle invasive aquatic species.

The regulatory framework would give provinces and territories new tools to prevent the introduction of these types of species to Canada, from other countries or within provinces and regions.

"From an educational perspective, we are aware of the issue of invasive species coming into our community," Ron Cannan said. "Whether it's through a float plane or a boat, intentional or unintentional, the fact is that we want to ensure the health and productivity of all our water systems."

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans currently has a $14-million budget to battle invasive aquatic species. If the new regulations are approved, any rollout costs would come from that pool of money until new funding initiatives come online. 

"Once in place, these regulations will help prevent species like Asian carp from establishing in Canadian waters and most importantly, give us new tools to battle them if they are introduced," said Dan Albas. "The proposed AIS regulations will ensure that the import, transport, possession and release of specific aquatic invasive species, including all species of Asian Carp and zebra and quagga mussels, are strictly prohibited."

Currently, compliance with provincial rules regulating the movement of aquatic invasive species is voluntary. 

Albas said that the proposed regulations will give Canadian Border Service agents the authority to compel a person to comply with provincial and national regulations, a power they currently do not have. 

Tom Therriault, a research scientist with the DFO said there is "no silver bullet" for eradicating invasive species once they establish themselves in our waterways. 

"It's a species-specific response typically. But prevention is always the key," he said. 

The announcement coincided with a roundtable discussion with local stakeholders at the Kelowna Yacht Club.

The new regulations will be published Dec. 6 in the Canada Gazette, Part I for a 30-day public comment period. 

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