BY DAVID COPPLESTONE, INVASIVE SPECIES RESEARCH TECHNICIAN, OFAH
What are aquatic invasive species?
quatic invasive species or AIS are fish, plants, or invertebrates that originate from other parts of the world, and when introduced outside of their native range can cause enormous ecological and economic harm. The zebra mussel, purple loosestrife and the sea lamprey are the most well known examples of AIS, having caused huge changes in the Great Lakes ecosystem as well as cost millions of dollars in control efforts. Invasive species share many common traits, including a high reproductive rate enabling them to build their populations quickly, they also tend to be very adaptable and are able to outcompete native species for food and habitat.
There are over 185 non-native species in the Great Lakes basin, with a new introduction occurring approximately every 8 months. Not all of these introductions have become a problem, but a small percentage as in the case of the zebra mussel have had major impacts and have begun to spread into Ontario’s inland lakes and waterways. Unfortunately once established it is very difficult to control or eradicate invasive species. Thus the best defense we have is prevention and limiting the spread of invasive species from one water body to another.
Best Management Practices for Recreational Boaters and Anglers
Gear such as boats, trailers, motors, fishing tackle, and bait buckets are all capable of transporting aquatic invasive species to new water bodies. Through the use of the following best management practices, anglers and boaters can stop the spread of aquatic invasive species to new water bodies.
- Inspect your boat, motor, trailer, and boating equipment and remove any plants or animals that may be attached.
Drain water from the motor, live wells, bilge, and transom wells while on land immediately after leaving a water body.
Wash or Dry your boat, tackle, downriggers, trailer, and any other boating equipment to kill harmful species that were not visible at the boat launch. Some aquatic species can survive more than two weeks out of water. Therefore, it is important to:
Rinse your boat and equipment that normally gets wet with hot tap water (greater than 40°C), or
Spray your boat and trailer with high pressure water (250 psi), or
Dry your boat and equipment in the sun for at least 5 days before transporting them to another body of water.
Do not release live bait! Empty bait buckets on land or in the trash or freeze or salt the bait for future use. Never release fish, plants, or invertebrates from one water body into another.
Buy or harvest your bait fish where you fish and become familiar with the species that may be used as bait in your area.
You can learn more about aquatic invasive species and obtain educational materials to distribute to your customers through the Invading Species Awareness Program: a partnership initiative of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and the Ministry of Natural Resources.
THE INVADING SPECIES HOTLINE - 1-800-563-7711
THE ONTARIO FEDERATION OF ANGLERS AND HUNTERS
P.O. BOX 2800, PETERBOROUGH ONTARIO
EMAIL US AT: firstname.lastname@example.org
CHECK OUT OUR WEBSITE: http://www.invadingspecies.com
This article was taken from page 17 of NOTO's "The Outfitter" publication, Winter 2007 Issue