International Joint Commission (IJC)
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Annex 6 - Aquatic Invasive Species

A. Purpose

The purpose of this Annex is to contribute to the achievement of the General and Specific Objectives of this Agreement. Through this Annex the Parties shall establish a binational strategy to prevent the introduction of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS), to control or reduce the spread of existing AIS, and to eradicate, where feasible, existing AIS within the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem.

B. Programs and Other Measures

The Parties shall develop and implement programs and other measures to eliminate new introductions of AIS through a binational prevention-based approach, informed by risk assessments. This approach takes into account that new species may pose a risk to the Great Lakes, even in the absence of scientific certainty.

The Parties, subject to their respective laws and regulations, and in cooperation and consultation with State and Provincial Governments, Tribal Governments, First Nations, Métis, Municipal Governments, watershed management agencies, other local public agencies, and the Public, shall:

  1. implement ballast water discharge programs that are protective of the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem, as provided for in Annex 5, Discharges from Vessels;
     
  2. implement programs to prevent the introduction and spread of AIS by:

(a) conducting proactive, binationally coordinated Risk Assessments on various Pathways such as:

(i) the trade and importation of live organisms for various uses including, but not limited to, aquariums and gardens, bait fish, live fish food markets, and biological supply houses;

(ii) recreation and other resource use including, but not limited to, boating and personal watercraft use, fishing, hunting, diving, and float plane aviation;

(iii) connecting waterways, including intermittent waterways; and

(iv) other Pathways and Vectors, as appropriate;

(b) developing regulations or management strategies informed by these Risk Assessments;

(c) coordinating the implementation of management strategies as appropriate;

(d) undertaking education and outreach efforts;

(e) establishing effective barriers that prevent the spread of AIS while allowing the movement of other ecosystem components (such as water and native species), as informed by Risk Assessments and where economically feasible; and

(f) ensuring that any inter-basin transfer of water includes the appropriate consideration of the potential to introduce AIS;

3. within two years of entry into force of this Agreement, develop and implement an early detection and rapid response initiative that:

(a) develops species watch lists;

(b) identifies priority locations for surveillance;

(c) develops monitoring protocols for surveillance;

(d) establishes protocols for sharing information;

(e) identifies new AIS; and

(f) coordinates effective and timely domestic and, when necessary, binational response actions to prevent the establishment of newly detected AIS.

C. Science

The Parties, in cooperation and consultation with State and Provincial Governments, Tribal Governments, First Nations, Métis, Municipal Governments, watershed management agencies, other local public agencies, and the Public, shall undertake the following:

  1. ecological assessments of the effectiveness of AIS prevention programs;
     
  2. development and evaluation of technology and methods that increase the effectiveness of control and eradication efforts;
     
  3. development and evaluation of technology and methods that improve the ability to achieve effective barriers that prevent the spread of AIS while allowing the movement of other ecosystem components through canals and waterways;
     
  4. development and evaluation of technology and methods, including genetic techniques, that improve the ability to detect potential AIS at low levels of abundance;
     
  5. determination of potential AIS habitat requirements and additional factors that would affect the establishment and spread of AIS;
     
  6. assessment of the ecosystem impacts of both established and high-risk AIS in order to inform management regarding decisions for rapid response and control programs;
     
  7. assessment of the potential impact of climate change on the introduction, survival, establishment, and spread of AIS; and
     
  8. Risk Assessments of species, Pathways and Vectors as determined to be appropriate by the Parties.

D. Reporting

The Parties shall report on progress toward implementation of this Annex every three years through the Progress Report of the Parties.

E. Definitions

In this Annex:

  1. “Aquatic Invasive Species” (AIS) means any non-indigenous species, including its seeds, eggs, spores, or other biological material capable of propagating that species, that threatens or may threaten the diversity or abundance of aquatic native species, or the ecological stability, and thus water quality, or water quality of infested waters, or commercial, recreational, or other activities dependent on such waters;
     
  2. “Pathways” means the broad corridors or routes by which AIS are transferred from one geographic area to another (such as transoceanic shipping);
     
  3. "Risk Assessment" means a method of identifying threats and vulnerabilities by assessing the likelihood of introduction, survival, establishment, and spread of AIS, and by assessing the magnitude of any associated impacts; and
     
  4. “Vectors” means the sub-corridors or routes within Pathways that are the physical means by which AIS are transported from one geographic area to another (such as Ballast Water).