• nonindigenous aquatic species;
  • fish trade;
  • aquaculture;
  • introductions;
  • rapid response management;
  • legislation;
  • Canada;
  • USA


  • 1.
    The provision of Canadian and US hard, enforceable, law to authorize rapid response management of nonindigenous aquatic species originating from aquaculture, live fish sales, bait fish, and the pet trade was analysed at the provincial/state levels of government for the Atlantic, Laurentian Great Lakes, and Pacific regions of North America.
  • 2.
    No federal legal capacity for rapid response management exists in either country. US state legislation is generally better developed than Canadian provincial laws to manage the exotic fish trade. However, much discrepancy exists among provincial and state law regarding provisions to restrict or prohibit potentially harmful species. Aquaculture and baitfish use is generally better regulated than live fish markets and the pet fish trade in both countries. Only the state of Maine has laws authorizing rapid-response management to control escaped exotic fish.
  • 3.
    Most species of nonindigenous fish arise from the aquarium, pet, and baitfish trades, and development of improved legislation containing provisions for rapid response management of escapees is warranted in all states and provinces.
  • 4.
    It is recommended that Canada amends the Fisheries Act to create the appropriate enabling legislation to monitor, assess risk, and deploy rapid response management of nonindigenous aquatic species, including fish that enter federal fresh and sea waters. Two recently-introduced US Bills, S. 725 and H.R. 1350, with their explicit measures for early detection and fast action response, could, if passed into law, create provisions to control introduced nuisance species throughout North American waters. They would also create precedents for states and provinces that have most jurisdiction over aquaculture and trade in exotic fish to amend and align their laws in a complementary manner.

Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.