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Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry calls on Ontarians to be alert for new invasive species

With 13 new additions on the Invasive Species Watch List, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry John Yakabuski says people should be on the lookout for them.

The minister says that the MNRF is concerned about the 13 that have been added. Targeted species include crayfish like Red Swamp or Marbled Crayfish, plants like the European Frog-bit, the Yellow Floating Heart, the Fanwort and the Bohemian, Giant and Himalayan Knotweed. They also include Prussian Carp, Mountain Pine Beetle and the New Zealand Mud Snail as well as wild pigs.

Yakabuski says that in particular, wild pigs have caused the most concern for the MNRF. He says the ministry has seen what they’ve done in other jurisdictions and says they are very destructive to the local environment. He says because of this, the Ministry has begun a pilot project to monitor the spread of the species. Yakabuski says that if the public sees wild pigs the Ministry wants to know about it right away.

The Minister says that waterborne species like the Marbled Crayfish are concerning for their effect on the water systems of the province. Similar to species like the Asian Carp, these fish can destroy the recreational fishery because they compete for food with the native species. The minister says they often end up the dominant or the only species in that ecosystem and pushes the rest out. The Minister says the MNRF has been doing everything they can to keep invasive species out of the Great Lakes. He says it takes less effort to keep them out than it does to control them once they have entered the waterways.

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On removing invasive plants, Yakabuski says the ministry is monitoring its spread closely. He says that the ministry’s partners in other jurisdictions are out there identifying species if they are found. Yakabuski stressed that just because they are on the list doesn’t mean they are in the province yet. He says species like the Mountain Pine Beetle hasn’t arrived, but their spread is being monitored by other groups outside the province.  The minister says this makes invasive species much harder to deal with, as they do not respect borders. In addition, these species do not have native predators, making their spread harder to check.

The Ministry’s feedback page on the new species list can be found on their website.

Written by Trevor Smith-Millar

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