Nova Scotia government moves to combat introduction of invasive fish species

8 Nov 2010

The Nova Scotia government is strengthening efforts to fight the growing problem of introduced non-native fish species in the province's lakes and rivers.

Canadaeast.com reports that proposed changes to the Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act are designed to protect against the unauthorised introduction of fish into waterways.

Nova Scotia Fisheries Minister Sterling Belliveau said the move is aimed at giving enforcement officers more authority to prevent the transportation of live fish from one location to another.

The introduction of invasive species such as smallmouth bass and chain pickerel continues to be a problem. Smallmouth bass have been found in more than 240 locations in the province while chain pickerel can be found in as many as 100 lakes.

He said the fish pose a threat to native species such as the speckled trout and two endangered species — the inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic salmon and the Atlantic whitefish.

The changes to legislation will eventually see fines and other penalties introduced.

However, the government is under no illusions that  it will be easy to get the message across to those who want to stock fisheries with non-native invasive species.  There hasn't been a single charge laid anywhere in Canada for the illegal introduction of a fish species since 1984, according to canadaeast.com.

Lyle Goldberg of Trout Nova Scotia said that there is much work to be done to reverse the damage that's already been done by illegal species, particularly from the South Shore to as far as Yarmouth where native populations of trout and salmon have been devastated. He added that it is important to try to save areas where healthy populations of wild trout and salmon have not been affected by introduced species.  he recommends government officals to put resources into an advertising campaign to educate the public and to try to reach the province's 60,000 sport anglers.

 

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