Saskatchewan releases new Aquatic Invasive Species strategy

Environment Minister Dustin Duncan introduced the Government of Saskatchewan’s new Aquatic Invasive Species Strategy during an address to the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation’s (SWF) annual convention in Weyburn on February 20. The new framework is designed to help the province prevent, address and manage aquatic invasive species (AIS) threats.

The ministry and the SWF are partners on the province’s AIS Task Force – which focuses on additional education and monitoring activities – along with other government agencies, conservation groups, non-government organizations and universities.

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“This strategy emphasizes the need for collaboration and co-ordination with provincial and federal government agencies, non-government organizations and neighbouring jurisdictions to prevent the introduction and spread of high-risk aquatic invasive species,” Duncan said.

AIS, such as zebra and quagga mussels, threaten lakes and rivers in Western Canada. They can severely affect aquatic habitat, fisheries, valuable recreational resources and important infrastructure for irrigation, power generation and municipal water supplies.

In recent years, the ministry has significantly increased its AIS prevention efforts, with a primary focus on education and awareness.

“We recently announced that no invasive mussels had been detected in Saskatchewan waters in 2019,” Duncan said. “That is a positive step, and it speaks to the approach we’ve been taking in Saskatchewan. But we know more work needs to be done, and that diligence on this front needs to be unrelenting for us to remain free from this threat.”

Saskatchewan also partners with the Canada Border Services Agency and other provincial and territorial governments to co-ordinate prevention efforts across Western Canada.

The province’s new AIS Strategy, as well as further information about AIS and fishing, is available online at https://www.saskatchewan.ca/residents/environment-public-health-and-safety/wildlife-issues/invasive-species/aquatic-invasive-species-prevention-program.