Keeping invasive species away from P.E.I.

·2 min read

There’s a group on P.E.I. that’s on the lookout for invasive species and it’s asking for help from the public this summer.

The P.E.I. Invasive Species Council closely watches P.E.I. and works to prevent any new invasive plants or animals from coming to P.E.I.

That’s why it is launching two campaigns asking everyone to “Don’t Let It Loose” and to, instead, properly re-home aquarium pets and “Clean, Drain, Dry” aimed at recreational boats.

"We all need to think about preventing the introduction of invasive species to P.E.I., and if introduced, slowing their spread,” said Beth Hoar, PEIISC chair.

The new campaigns will spread awareness to Islanders with signs in nine locations across the Island near recreational waterways.

An invasive species is any species that is not native to an area, has a tendency to spread and threatens the environmental, economic or social health of that area, said the PEIISC website. Invasive species are removed from their natural ecosystems and are no longer kept in check by their natural predators and pathogens.

Currently, there are 25 invasive plants, five invasive insects and two invasive diseases on P.E.I., according to the website.

The Clean, Drain, Dry campaign encourages boaters to make sure water is cleaned from their equipment after use to prevent the spread of invasive species from one body of water to another.

Hannah Morrison, who is with the PEIISC, said cleaning boats between uses can stop things like the zebra mussel and its larger relative, the quagga mussel, from coming to P.E.I.

“Those aren’t on P.E.I. yet, so the purpose of that would be to prevent the establishment,” said Morrison. “They’re quite invasive and they can survive a long time out of water. They could be introduced potentially on a fouled boat.”

The Don’t Let It Loose campaign intends to prevent the release of non-native species into the wild.

It’s not OK to let pet fish loose into the wild or to dump out aquariums into the water.

“Goldfish, koi, Canada waterweed, those are all aquarium fish and plants that could be introduced potentially by intentional release or improper disposal.”

Canada waterweed, despite its name, is not native to P.E.I., said Morrison.

“It’s been acting quite invasively in Stratford and Montague,” she said.

For more information, visit the P.E.I. Invasive Species Council website: peiinvasives. com.

Alison Jenkins, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Journal-Pioneer