What we track
Blue Accounting is assessing regional consistency in the regulatory policies to restrict the introduction and spread of priority aquatic invasive species. This regulatory assessment analyzes what species are listed in state/provincial statue or code and what those regulations actually mean on a practical level. The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers maintain a list of “Least Wanted AIS” for which the Great Lakes states and provinces have “committed to take priority action on the transfer of these species to and within the region”, including via regulation. Additionally, federal agencies in Canada (Fisheries and Oceans Canada) and the United States (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; U.S. Department of Agriculture) maintain lists of species regulated at a federal scale. It is a priority of the agencies represented on the AIS Work Group to meet the expectations of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers while also promoting consistency between federal and state/provincial regulations.
The need for species regulations
One way to measure progress towards effective regional management of aquatic invasive species is through the implementation of consistent regulated species lists across federal, provincial and state governments. These lists identify plants and animals for which certain activities are illegal in a jurisdiction, e.g., importation, sale or possession. However, inconsistencies in regulated species lists may create legal gaps that lead to an invasive species being released into a body of water, intentionally or accidentally.
The need for consistent policies between Great Lakes jurisdictions to prevent invasive species introductions is recognized as a regional priority by the Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species, Annex 6 of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, and the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers Aquatic Invasive Species Task Force.
Why it matters
The implementation of species regulations lays the foundation on which to build effective AIS prevention programs. These legislative mandates underpin many of the activities that agencies implement, and consistency between jurisdictions paves the way for consistency within programs as well. Policies may regulate the import, sale, transportation, possession, and release of invasive species. Consistent policies create a level playing field for industry and consumers and help proactively ensure that harmful species used as bait, in water gardens, in aquariums, or for any other purpose will not be accidentally or deliberately released into the Great Lakes basin. Likewise, regulation of species that may be moved via broad, complex pathways such as shipping or recreational boating support the actions that that agencies take to prevent spread in those poathways.
AIS Work Group
The lists of species represented in this metric include the 21 "Least Wanted" AIS from the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers and species regulated at a federal level in the United States and Canada. The species on these lists may be found in various pathways, including shipping, recreational boating, or trade in live organisms. Regulating these species does not inherently prevent introduction in general, and more regulations does not always mean better protections. Therefore, to provide an in-depth look at how protective regulated species lists are, we have paired this regulated species data with more detailed information on the activities that are regulated (e.g., sale or transport) that may prevent these species from moving through various pathways.
AIS Work Group
AIS Work Group