Thank you, and good afternoon, Mr. Chair, members of the committee, and staff. Thank you very much for the invitation to appear before you today. It's something we've had the pleasure of doing previously, particularly on the topic of aquatic invasive species.
As the chair noted, with me is Dr. Terry Quinney, from OFAH. In addition to being responsible for fish and wildlife programs at OFAH, Dr. Quinney is an official Canadian advisor to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. He was also the only Canadian to serve on the stakeholder advisory committee to the recent Chicago waterway study conducted by the Great Lakes cities initiative and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission.
The OFAH itself represents over 100,000 members, supporters, and subscribers, as well as 675 member clubs across Ontario. As such, we are the largest non-profit conservation-based organization in the province and one of the largest in the country. We are deeply concerned about the threat that aquatic invasive species pose to Canada' s ecosystems, fish and wildlife populations, as well as to the socio-economic benefits that are derived from both recreational and commercial fishing on the Great Lakes.
While a great deal of progress has been made since we last appeared before this committee, I regret to say that some of the same issues we addressed back in 2003 and 2005 are still prevalent today. These include but are not limited to the need to address funding pressures, which a previous committee attempted to change but which remains.
Since 1994 the OFAH has been home to the invading species awareness program, the largest program of its type in the country and the only comprehensive program run by an NGO. Since 2003 that program has operated in full partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. We're a member of the Great Lakes panel on aquatic invasive species under the aegis of the aquatic invasive species task force, and we work with major groups such as the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, the International Joint Commission, the Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association, and the Ontario Commercial Fisheries Association. On the ground we also work with important fish hatcheries such as Bluewater, conservation authorities, lake and cottage associations, and bait and marina operators, who have an interest in preventing the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species and invasive plants.
Putting modesty aside, the invading species awareness program--ISAP--has been a major success story for OFAH. Over the last decade we have participated in virtually every major exercise in the Great Lakes basin related to the monitoring, assessment, and control of aquatic invasive species, including zebra mussels, round goby, and more recently Asian carp.
As you heard during testimony by officials from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on April 2, the establishment and spread of aquatic invasive species represents a threat to ecosystems and to fish habitat and causes irreparable economic and environmental harm. Of the roughly 180 aquatic invasive species mentioned by Mr. Gillis in his remarks, approximately 160 have found a home in the Great Lakes. You will also recall that Mr. Gillis noted that the recreational, sport, and commercial fishery in the Great Lakes is cumulatively worth over $7 billion annually. So it's not hard to see how the presence of aquatic invasive species that disrupt fish populations can make a significant ecological and economic impact.
The same species have a devastating impact on the 250,000 inland lakes across Ontario that support a thriving recreational sport fishery. Vital lake ecosystems are more vulnerable to impacts because of their smaller size and lower species diversity, which enable invasions to occur more rapidly and pervasively.
Public awareness and education are key to helping prevent the introduction of new species and controling current ones. This is why we developed a national public education and outreach program, which has twice been the source of discussions at this committee. In both 2003 and 2005 the committee recommended funding for our ISAP proposal to run a national public education and awareness program together with our provincial and territorial affiliates. Unfortunately, this has not occurred.
In Canada, public outreach programs continue to be spearheaded largely by organizations like the OFAH, whose public education and awareness programs focus on pathways of introduction, monitoring, and researching impacts and control measures. Our invading species hotline receives thousands of calls each year and was indeed the vector for the first report of round goby being found in Lake Ontario.
During recent testimony by DFO officials, several members of this committee asked about the funding attached to the fight against aquatic invasive species, particularly sea lamprey. You were told that of the $10 million spent on invasive species, $8 million is directed towards the control of sea lamprey, with the remaining $2 million split several ways to pay for programs across the country.
With all due respect, apportioning a relatively small amount of money to address a very large problem is by no means a function of this government alone. It is in fact an example of the chronic underfunding that stretches back to the early 1990s.
The shared blame for the underfunding of the invasive species strategy not only undermines the implementation and credibility of the national strategy, but leaves precious few resources to address a myriad of problems across the country and in the Great Lakes in particular. This is in direct contrast to the U.S.—recognizing the larger population base and budgets—which spends over half a billion dollars annually to address the threat posed by invasive species. In fact, the President announced $50 million for 2012 just to address the threat posed by Asian carp on the U.S. side of the Great Lakes, so you get a sense of the problem we're facing here.
Just last week, the OFAH received a letter from Environment Canada informing us that, due to budget cuts, years two and three of a three-year, $50,000-per-year funding agreement between that department and the invasive alien species partnership program was terminated, effective immediately. As I noted earlier, however, the limited amount of funding available to address the threat posed by aquatic invasives and the failure of successive governments to improve upon that funding envelope is not a new phenomenon. It's something we've struggled with for years.
Since 2003 the OFAH has had an memorandum of understanding with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, which provides us with roughly $300,000 per year. We match that dollar for dollar. The recent loss of federal funding will make it harder to leverage matching contributions and will put more strain on our budget to make up the shortfall.
We've had extensive experience both with sea lamprey and with Asian carp. I'll use my remaining time to outline where we are on both of those species.
The arrival of sea lamprey in the Great Lakes was an unmitigated disaster for the recreational and commercial fishery. The annual commercial harvest fell from millions of kilograms to nearly nothing almost overnight. It is not an exaggeration to say that sea lamprey has changed a way of life in the Great Lakes basin: commercial fisheries suffered or shut down entirely, and the entire ecosystem was thrown into chaos.
The news today, I'm glad to say, is much better. In 1954 Canada and the U.S. collaborated on a plan to address the threat posed by this species. They formed the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, a binational body, and charged the commission with developing and carrying out a sea lamprey control program. As a result of their work and the work done by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Province of Ontario, the fishery has been rehabilitated.
However, the rosy picture painted by DFO officials during their appearance is not entirely a reflection of reality. They would have you believe that the program has achieved a success rate of 90%, is one of the most successful programs of its kind, and is being achieved on a budget of only $8 million annually as Canada's portion of the funding envelope.
While it's certainly technically true that the program is successful, efforts to control sea lamprey have been chronically underfunded while resources are diverted away and applied to coastal fisheries. In actual fact, the success of the program must be looked at on a lake-by-lake basis. As an in-depth assessment provided by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission shows, on all five of the Great Lakes the spawner abundance is above the target levels, with Lake Erie being the worst of the five.
Asian carp, as you know, were imported into the southern U.S. in the 1970s to keep aquaculture facilities clean and to manage fish waste. They were also imported as a food fish for aquaculture. Since that time and the floods of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s in the Mississippi basin, they have spread throughout the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, reproducing in large numbers to become the predominant species in those ecosystems.
Strong dietary overlap between Asian carp and native fish means they out-compete native fish for food, because they eat up to 40% of their body weight each day. You heard from DFO officials the allusion to the silver carp, which has the nasty predilection, when disturbed, of leaping out of the water into boats and injuring people and property.
DFO has taken the lead in developing a state-of-the-art science assessment of the Asian carp risk to the Great Lakes, which should be released in the next short while. This assessment was conducted in cooperation with U.S. scientists and represents the first and only risk assessment focused entirely on the Great Lakes. It's expected to confirm and build upon the science on Asian carp, reaffirm the risk they pose to the Great Lakes, and demonstrate that the lakes will provide an ample food supply and that suitable spawning habitat exists.
In response to this threat, the U.S. has established the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee, led by John Goss—who, as an aside, is known as the “carp czar”—of the President's Council on Environmental Quality. The committee coordinates the actions of a myriad of federal, state, and local agencies involved in Asian carp prevention and threat management.
You are also aware of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' electrical barrier on the Chicago canal, which prevents the movement of species between the two basins.
The U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission are working cooperatively on risk assessment, monitoring, and control measures.
Canada needs to take an active role in preventing the movement of carp into the Great Lakes. Recommendations 3 and 4 attached to our comments speak to further specific actions that we believe DFO should take, including imposing a national ban on the importation of live Asian carp similar to what currently exists in Ontario and several U.S. border states, and supporting the complete separation of the Great Lakes from the Mississippi watershed.
I'll conclude my remarks there. I look forward to taking your questions.
Thank you again, Mr. Chair and members of the committee, for having us here today.
Thank you, Mr. Chair and committee, for the opportunity to present the concerns of the local fishing community.
My name really is John, but everybody calls me Jake. At present I'm the hatchery manager for the Bluewater Anglers fish culture station, which is located in Point Edward. It's part of Sarnia in Lambton County. I've been on the board of directors for the last 12 years and have been president for some time.
I also serve on the MNR's Lake Huron FMZ 13 advisory committee, so most of my comments apply to Lake Huron. That's the lake I know best. That's home.
I'm a non-professional and a dedicated fisherman.
I'll tell you a little bit about our club history and operation.
Back in 1980 a group of local sport fishermen decided they wanted to put something back into their sport. We have a current membership of 400. The initial emphasis by the club was to raise rainbow trout to enhance the local sport-fishing effort. In 1984 the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources sanctioned the stocking of chinook salmon. The club lobbied and was granted a licence to raise and stock chinooks. The club then proceeded to fund and build a full-scale, 5,000-square-foot hatchery. This was accomplished in two years. The first fish were stocked in 1986. Since inception, this hatchery has raised and stocked over five million fish, all to Lake Huron.
Along with fish stocking, the club is active in a variety of community activities to encourage youth involvement, public education, and community tourism. Our greatest support is from our host community, the village of Point Edward.
The majority of our finding is raised by the membership. We receive $3,000 a year: $1,000 for each species we raise. This comes from hunting and fishing licences. It's exactly the same amount of money we received in 1982. My travel expenses today will be almost equal to any funding we receive from governments. All additional funding to operate and maintain the hatchery is raised by the membership.
As fishermen, today we feel threatened, not so much in a physical sense, but in regard to the effects the invasives have had and are having on the local fisheries, and the potential total disruption of the enjoyment of the lake as we know it if the Asian carp ever arrives. Chicago is a lot closer to Sarnia than it is to Ottawa.
Over time, we have seen the devastating changes to our fishery—some good, some bad. One of the first noticeable impacts was the lamprey wounding to all of the game fish in the area. We see the wounding numbers at our annual salmon derby, where data is collected every year. It's cyclical, but it's always there—and I don't like lampreys in my boat.
The alewife is an invasive that made its way into the Great Lakes with the opening of the Welland Canal. In the 1960s it was a major problem on the lakes, with large masses of rotting carcasses on the beaches. Fortunately, the control—another exotic species, the chinook salmon—became an industry of its own, providing commercial enterprise and an exciting new sport-fishing industry.
By the mid-eighties the zebra mussel arrived in our area. Initially it was thought to be not so much a problem for the fisheries but more for the physical structures of the area—water lines and docks. This was not the case. It soon became evident that the mussel was depriving the bottom end of the food chain, filtering the planktons out of the water. In the early 2000s the salmon fishery started to weaken; the forage base was shrinking. By 2003 we were seeing a fish we called “swimming heads”—a 10-pound salmon in a 25-pound body. They were not getting enough forage to sustain their numbers.
Today the alewife has totally disappeared from the lower end of the lake because it was competing for the same food source as the zebra muscle and the round goby, another exotic. It was very weak going into the extremely cold winter of 2002-2003 and this year-class hatch was totally wiped out because of its weakness. It has not recovered in the lower end of the lake, and I fear we have not seen the full effect of the zebra mussel. The water in Lake Huron is too clear. When light can penetrate to depths of 50 feet, we're going to start growing things that we really don't want to ever see.
The financial effect of this is easier to see on the U.S. side of the lake, where every port had numerous charter boat operators. They had to employ security people just to control the salmon fishermen on the weekends at the boat launches. It was that attractive a sport. Along with the charter operators, the restaurants and tackle shops are gone. One report I read estimated a $1 million loss to these small villages. The charter boats have either moved to Lake Michigan or Lake Ontario or totally shut down. At one time there were four operating out of the marinas in Sarnia. There is now one part-time between Sarnia and Grand Bend.
We've seen improvements in the salmon fishery, but we don't see the size of fish or the numbers of fish. Small food means small fish. The fish in most cases are into a three-year cycle now instead of a natural four-year spawning cycle, which gives us problems in the hatchery. We see small eggs, underdevelopment, and higher losses.
If the Asian carp gets established in our ecosystem, it will be a major competitor for the total fishery. Once again, it will be a competitor for the lower end of the food web. For the existing fish community, it's like trying to climb a ladder up the side of a building with the bottom two or three steps missing: there's nothing for the fish to get started on.
From the U.S. studies, we see that any motorized activity on the lake could create a severe hazard if the silver carp ever start to jump. If, as has happened on the lower Mississippi, 90% of the habitat is taken over by the carp, there will be no sport fishery as we know it today, and I would guess our commercial fisheries would become unproductive or totally obsolete.
Can we afford to take a several-billion-dollar hit to our Great Lakes fisheries?
We also now have the quagga mussel competing for the same territory as the zebra mussel. It goes deeper and is slightly larger. It is similar to the zebra mussel, and all of these affect the food chain.
The following are recommendations from the local fish community:
Sea lamprey control needs to be increased; $8 million is a small number for all the Great Lakes. DFO funding for this has not changed since 2004. Fish-wounding rates are up, which we as fishermen can see. Control measures need to be intensified.
Close the Chicago shipping and sanitation channel. Stop the fish before they get here.
Increase enforcement on fish transport. Only allow the transport of gutted fish. If they're dead, they won't swim.
With respect to transshipping, stop the ocean freighters at the east and west coast ports. Stop bringing things into our Great Lakes. The lost dollars add up to a very large number compared to the small economic benefit of having ocean boats on the lakes. Somewhere there is a report that ocean boats generate something like $50 million a year to our economy. Zebra mussel control is something in the order of $700 million a year. Those are phenomenal numbers.
In terms of education, don't dispose of any live fish into waters the fish are not native to, not even into the toilet. The Ministry of Natural Resources had an experiment years ago in Thunder Bay that introduced pink salmon into the lake. The sewage treatment plant did not kill those fish, where they thought it would.
Thank you for this opportunity.
I'll answer your questions, and I'll answer them not only on the basis of my knowledge gained from working for the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters for some 24 years now, but also, as Mr. Farrant alluded to at the beginning of his presentation, from being an independent Canadian adviser to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. I do not get paid to do that. I'm fortunate that our organization permits me the time to provide professional advice to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission.
I want to highlight some of the activities of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission to answer your questions, Mr. Hayes, because in my professional experience, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, which is an international body established by treaty between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States, is one of the best examples there is of a working professional agency in North America. When it is properly resourced, it gets the right job done.
It has a very clear mandate—to kill lamprey in order to prevent the harm that lamprey cause, and continue to supply benefits, therefore, to Canadians, Americans, society, and governments. The Great Lakes Fishery Commission provides additional important roles, not only direct sea lamprey control but also funding and facilitating applied research to find better ways to control sea lamprey and better ways to manage the fishery resources of the Great Lakes cooperatively.
Off the top of my head, I can say that there are approximately nine jurisdictions who cooperatively work with the Great Lakes Fishery Commission: the Government of Canada through DFO; the Government of the United States of America through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Geological Survey of the U.S.; six U.S. states; and the Province of Ontario. All of them operate under a joint strategic plan to control sea lamprey and manage the fisheries of all of the Great Lakes. That joint plan has scientifically based targets to achieve with reference to the control of sea lamprey.
You heard Mr. Farrant refer to the fact that unfortunately, because of lack of resourcing, none of those established targets are being met today. Unfortunately there are too many lamprey out there. Instead of the $7 billion in economic benefits that recreational fisheries provide to both side of the Great Lakes—the United States and Canada—those economic benefits are decreasing. We can increase them. Collectively we can increase them. The track record is clear.
Hopefully over time, as your study progresses, you will invite the Great Lakes Fishery Commission in front of you, and they can speak to you and give additional details. Let me just finish by saying that they are very efficient and they are very cooperative.
Mr. Hayes, you're concerned about things like redundancy and duplication. Agencies like the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, because of extended periods of constraint, have learned to become very effective, very cost-effective, but very cooperative in their approaches.
Thanks very much, Mr. Chair.
Thanks very much to our presenters today. It's nice to see you.
Jake, thanks for coming. I hope you have better luck getting home than I had getting here. It wasn't a good day to travel.
I have certainly listened intently to what you've had to say, and I know that the Bluewater Anglers have done a great deal in our area to promote sport fishing through stocking the lake, through education, and through the role they have taken in the community for many years. So I congratulate and thank you for that.
I was certainly interested in hearing you talk about how you get your funding, how you raise your money through your membership, and how there is a lack of funding for you from other sources. When you stop and think about the work you've been doing to promote sport fishing in the Great Lakes and the lack of support you've had from government sources, I think that's something we definitely should be looking at.
Even when it comes down to education, I think that's a very important role.
We've talked about different things with the alien species, and we've talked in general about the Asian carp. I want to ask you a few questions in particular about the Asian carp. I know in the Sarnia—Lambton area there have been huge concerns raised for a long time about the possibility of the Asian carp coming in and the negative impacts it's going to have on the industry, which while not as robust as it used to be is still a very robust industry in the Great Lakes area.
Could you talk a little bit about what you see as the main issues with the Asian carp coming in? And could you talk a little bit about the education?
We've also talked about transportation of live fish and Ontario regulations. Do you see that as an issue too?
I'll start with those questions, and then we'll continue on if there is time.
Well, to go back to funding, yes, we raise all of our own funds. Funding is a bigger challenge every day for all non-profits and charitable organizations, in that we're competing for the same dollar market. As government makes cutbacks, our funding is reduced.
Sponsorship funding is the biggest thing that has hit us recently. If we need project money, we can go out and lobby one of the big companies. Usually we can generate enough of a case that we can get support, but getting the daily operating funding is very difficult.
On the education front, we typically run 30 to 40 tours a year. We do tourism from outside the area. We do schools. My tours program covers everything from day care kids to the old folks homes. When seniors come into the hatchery and recount their youth and their experiences with fishing, it's one of the most enjoyable things I have to do. It makes my job worthwhile.
I look at this education component when I go back to the kids. If we don't have fish and a fish community for the kids to work with, they're all going to be techno geeks, and we have so much of that now. To get the kids involved in the outdoors, our fish community has to be there. We run an open house every year for the hatchery. We had one just three weeks ago. We had over 2,000 people come through on two days. This is one of our major public education programs.
We run a kids' day at the end of May. Usually we have 150 booked in throughout the day, and every one of those kids will catch a rainbow trout before they leave. We have a stocked pond. They get to know how sport fish react.
If we don't stop things from coming into our Great Lakes, we will not have a sport fishery. The Asian carp is another addition. It's going to attack the existing spawning grounds. The grass carp will rip up the spawning beds we have. The existing habitat keeps disappearing. The zebra mussel has cleared so much water.... Where do the fish hide? We have the cormorant. When it can see the fish, it attacks the fish.
We've done nothing to stop these invasives from coming in. The majority have come in aboard the ocean carriers. Yes, we have started ballast water regulations, but what about the hull? Zebra mussels will come in on the hull of a boat just as easy as the villager will come in on the boat. I've seen the effects of the zebra mussel.
When I was a kid and fished, we could always catch fish. The kids don't have that opportunity today.
Thank you, Mr. MacAulay.
It comes from various envelopes and various departments. Federally, the Department of the Environment has provided funding envelopes for projects on invasive species. As I said, the alien invasive species partnership program was funded until just recently by some funding from Environment Canada, which traditionally has had the lead on invasive species because it covers also terrestrial invasives. DFO does have funding envelopes for invasive species. The former minister, the Honourable Gail Shea, was at our conference a year or two ago and announced a small amount of funding from DFO for our invasive species program.
Provincially, the Ministry of Natural Resources provides us with approximately $300,000 a year in funding, which we match. We contribute equal to what they put into it. There are various pockets, little bits, dribs and drabs, that go on throughout the year and that come from various tiny little spots. But when you look at the magnitude of the problem, the amount of funding that is provided....
Again, I must stress that this is not indicative of this particular government. This is a chronic underfunding issue. I mean, I personally have worked for the federation for 11 years, and I've been arguing for more funding for invasive species for 11 years. This issue around sea lamprey funding goes back into the nineties, the early nineties. It wasn't until 2003 that the Ministry of Natural Resources in Ontario formally stepped up and started to provide funding towards this.
So there are various pockets from various ministries. We certainly put money where our mouth is in terms of OFAH contributing to this. I've lost track of how many biologists we employ. Dr. Quinney can probably tell you. Between aquatic and terrestrial invasive species, we probably have no less than about eight full-time people working on this issue. They are all biologists. The Ontario Invasive Plant Council is now based at OFAH head office.
We take this very seriously, and we put our own money into this every year. We work with 150 cottage associations across the province and all of the commissions you can think of. Public education and awareness has been a focus of our program from day one.
I have left with the clerk some packages just as an example of what our program actually does on the ground.
I believe Mr. Farrant was trying to demonstrate that on the U.S. side of the Great Lakes there is a greater proportional contribution to the protection and enhancement of the Great Lakes on the fisheries side and the aquatic invasive side.
Having said that, we do want to emphasize the continued importance of partnerships, and the key role the federal Government of Canada has. The prevention, control, and management of aquatic invasive species is a perfect example of this. Federal departments, such as DFO and Environment Canada, have developed expertise that is now world-renowned. You do not want to compromise that expertise. Other agencies, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources for example, have additional expertise.
The point is that partnerships also provide leveraging. We've never said that the responsibility for prevention, control, and management of all aquatic invasive species across Canada is only a federal responsibility. We've never said that. You've heard us say that we're all in this together, but we have individual contributions to make and we have individual responsibilities. There are federal responsibilities here, in our opinion, and they are clear. There are provincial responsibilities as well.
We'd be the first to admit these are very difficult financial times, but my gosh, let's keep our eye on the ball, meaning benefits to people, society, governments, economic benefits, return on investment. You've heard about the $7 billion in the case of recreational fishing alone. What's the investment for that return? On the Canadian side, it has been $8 million. The grand total, by the way, is about $25 million a year, two-thirds from the Americans. For $25 million, with reference to sea lamprey control, we're all receiving benefits in the order of $7 billion. Surely that is an admirable rate of return on investment. But we say we can increase that return. We can increase the benefits. Please don't compromise our ability to optimize those benefits by cutting so badly that we won't recover.
I'd be happy to respond to that.
For our Ontario invasive species program at OFAH, across Ontario you will see signs at marinas, whether they be at boat ramps or in marinas themselves, in hundreds of locations across Ontario. Our invasive species staff work with marine operators and bait operators to educate the public about the need to wash and spray boats and the need to not transmit boats from one water body to another and to not dump bait buckets in foreign waters where the bait didn't come from, etc.
And yes, it does have an impact. The packages we brought today and have left with the clerk contain some information about those programs that we operate with, again, the cottage associations and whatnot. These are on-the-ground programs that do not cost a lot of money but have tremendous impacts on the ground, in the lakes, and in the waters. It's the type of thing where, for very little money, you can see big dividends.
When we were before this committee in 2003 and 2005 and talking about similar issues, we proposed at that time a national public education and awareness program that would deal with exactly those issues that you've raised, sir. At that time, and in fact still to this day, for the sum of $1.4 million and change, we could and we can deliver a national public education and awareness program across Canada to address those very issues, the issues you raise, with boaters and with bait operators and what not. I dare say, with all due respect to the government, that there isn't a government in this country that can deliver that kind of program on the ground for that dollar value. We can do that. It doesn't take huge pots of money to make a difference.
I know it's easy to come to government. Everybody comes to government with their hands out, and I know you guys get tired of it and the province gets tired of it, and I recognize why.
We will make a recommendation that you will see attached to your package today. One of the things you can do that costs not a dollar up front is to simply amend the regulation to stop the importation of live Asian carp into Canada. That costs no money, except for perhaps increased vigilance at the border, which is already happening. But it's not like we're coming here and saying that it's going to cost you $10 million to implement that. It costs nothing but an amendment of a regulation to expand it across the country, which will stop those fish from coming into this country over that route.
Yes, other things that we have recommended do have price tags attached to them, and we recognize that we're in a time of restraint, both provincially and federally, but for the programs you referred to with bait operators, marine operators, boaters, and people who fish on the ground, those programs have a huge impact. They work—and they don't cost a lot of money.
I cannot speak to the sea lamprey or the Asian carp, but to give you an example, three or four years ago the potential for round goby getting into Lake Simcoe was identified. Of course Lake Simcoe in Ontario had been the focus of a lot of activity in terms of its water quality and its protection. We participated in an exercise with Pefferlaw Creek, which feeds into Lake Simcoe and was judged to be the source of where these gobies would breach the lake, so to speak.
Essentially the exercise involved several different jurisdictions and agencies. They got together, went in, and pre-fished this thing, took out as many of the normal fish species as they could, and then just bombed that particular creek. I think rotenone was used to wipe out everything in existence. It was very serious. We had the cooperation of the municipality, and the local residents had to be involved. Everybody was on the ground, knew what was happening, and was involved in it. Did it work? No.
So you take extreme measures like that—and that's an extreme measure—where you close down an entire creek body for a period and just bomb the hell out of it with a poison that kills everything that's in there that hasn't been fished out of there in the first place, and it still doesn't work. That shows you how pervasive the problem is.
I have been to bait dealers in Ontario, who just by virtue of the fact that they did not know—and this is where education is so important—if you buy sucker minnows or something like that to fish with, you see goby in the tank that look very similar to the minnows in their bait tanks. This is why it's important that we have those types of things.
The Pefferlaw example is a good example of how difficult these things are to eradicate once they get in. Going back to Mr. Donnelly's question, when Dr. Quinney refers to the risk assessment the DFO and the U.S. have done on the Asian carp, this is critically important, because they've done great work up front: DFO, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, and the U.S. authorities. This is going to be released shortly, within a matter of a week or two. This risk assessment lays out where we're going with this, and what happens if this happens, and it tells you what the map is to try to deal with it. We don't often have the ability to do that. The case of a goby is one small example that shows you how difficult it is. Once they are here, they are not going away.