Preventing aquatic invasive species from marine transportation

Transport Canada is working to reduce the risk that vessels might accidentally introduce and spread aquatic invasive species (species that live in the water and become harmful when outside of their natural habitat) and pathogens (bacteria and viruses that cause disease) to an environment outside of their natural range. Without natural predators in their new environment, these species can quickly grow in number. This can impact both the economy and the environment.

Aquatic invasive species can be introduced and spread by ballast water (water that adds weight so the vessel floats at the right depth and stays level and stable) and biofouling (organisms that build-up on structures exposed to an aquatic environment, like a vessel's hull). Transport Canada is working to reduce the risks of introducing and spreading invasive species from each of these sources. Transport Canada is also working to ensure that methods used to reduce these risks, like anti-fouling systems, are not harming the environment.

Learn more about Transport Canada's work on aquatic invasive species:

The Government of Canada's approach to managing aquatic invasive species is based on four pillars of management:

  • prevention
  • early detection
  • response
  • control and management

The work of Transport Canada aligns with the first pillar to prevent aquatic invasive species from arriving and spreading via marine transportation. For more Information about the Government of Canada's approach to managing aquatic invasive species, visit Fisheries and Oceans Canada's website on Aquatic Invasive Species.