Invasive Species of Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador is home to thousands of species of animals, plants and other living organisms. These species create the unique environment and diverse habitats of our province. However, over time, intentionally or accidentally, exotic species have been introduced to the province. While most exotics may have little or no impact on local ecosystems, some species may become invasive.
Introducing invasive species can cause significant threats to an ecosystem, including the loss of native biodiversity. There is a direct relationship between an ecosystems biodiversity and its ability to respond and adapt to change - meaning that any change in the dynamics of an ecosystem, including the loss of species, can cause a decrease in the system's stability. In order to continually use our natural resources sustainably we need to maintain biodiversity. Changes made to ecosystems by an invasive species could potentially lead to negative social, cultural, and economic impacts.
How to Prevent the Introduction of Exotic Species
Ensure that a permit is not required to import the species that you are transporting
Buy local plants and pets where possible, and always ask for the source of your purchase - purchasing living things or packing material from out of province can bring in unwanted visitors
While traveling, regularly inspect your recreational vehicles, equipment or shoes, and rinse them when necessary - species can hitch a ride and easily transport themselves to a new area
While traveling, do not take home any live souvenirs, seemingly harmful gifts like wooden figures and fruit, can carry invasive insects and disease
Know the laws surrounding invasive species - current provincial legislation prohibits the introduction of any wild animal without prior permission
Become familiar with local species so you know what is native and what may be an exotic species
Educate others about the potential threats associated with introducing non-native species
Notify Wildlife Officials of potentially new introductions to an area
Be on the lookout for non-native species and participate in local and community monitoring projects
The European Green Crab is one of the ten most unwanted species in the world. This small coastal crab, which is highly resilient, competes for prey as they are voracious predators, and has the potential to upset the overall balance of the marine ecosystem. Unless this invasive species is controlled, it will have significant impact on biodiversity and habitats in Canadian ecosystems.
Eradicating European Green Crab is nearly impossible, but limiting their population spread may be feasible. Collaborations between Fisheries and Oceans Canada, fish harvesters, the Fish, Food and Allied Workers of Newfoundland, Memorial University of Newfoundland and the provincial Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, showed that where they sustainably removed the green crab, catch rates decreased considerably and the native species, the Jonah crabs, were able to regain their territory.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada, in order to control the populations of Green Crab, may distribute nuisance permits to fisherman - allowing them to destroy any green crabs they catch in an effort to reduce the population size. Those who wish to obtain a permit may contact Cynthia Mackenzie, Aquatic Invasive Species lead in DFO Science, St. John’s at Cynthia.McKenzie@dfo-mpo.gc.ca. There is no cost for the permit but there is a requirement to complete log sheets.