Theme III - Protecting Nature

Canada has one of the longest navigable coastlines in the world, from the St. Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes to the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific Oceans. A significant increase in worldwide shipping traffic and the corresponding amount of ballast water discharged by them has resulted in an increase in alien species introductions.

Modern commercial shipping cannot operate without ballast water, which provides balance and stability to ships. Water is pumped into the ballast tanks when the vessel is departing a port of origin and released when it takes on cargo at another port. Over the past 30 years, there has been growing international recognition of potential problems associated with the discharge of ships' ballast water.

The introduction and spread of alien invasive species is a serious problem that has ecological, economic, health and environmental impacts, including loss of native biological diversity. Species are considered alien if they are not native to a given ecosystem. Alien species are considered to be invasive when their introduction causes, or is likely to cause, harm to the environment, the economy, or human health.

For more information on the Canadian Ballast Water Program, please visit Transport Canada's website.

Transport Canada's Commitment

Transport Canada's commitment under Theme III – Protecting Nature is listed below. Clicking on the commitment will bring you to more detailed information.

It is important to note that the numbering of this implementation strategy comes directly from the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy.

Goal 6: Ecosystem/Habitat Conservation and Protection

6.4.8 Implement Ballast Water Control and Management Regulations to prevent invasive species from ships' ballast water. This includes cooperating with the United States Coast Guard and Seaway Authorities to inspect vessels entering the Seaway and Great Lakes to ensure compliance. (TC)