Whitehorse, Yukon, Sept. 16, 2004 – Federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for Wildlife, Endangered Species, Forests, and Fisheries and Aquaculture today released a national strategy to address the issues of Invasive Alien Species and set a path forward for managing wildlife disease.
“Invasive alien species and wildlife diseases harm the environment, the economy, and human health and well-being” said Yukon’s Environment Minister, Peter Jenkins, adding “these issues are complex in that wildlife does not recognize borders and any attempt to manage issues such as these must be dealt with in a coordinated manner. All parts of the country are affected and governments recognize that invasives and wildlife diseases have to be dealt with on an urgent basis.”
The Invasive Alien Species Strategy for Canada establishes a comprehensive, coordinated and efficient approach to protecting Canada’s ecosystems, animals and plants. The Strategy is designed to address the threat posed by invasive alien species to Canadian wildlife, forests, fisheries and other resource sectors. Examples of invaders include purple loosestrife, which is choking Canadian wetlands; the zebra mussel, which has had a significant economic impact in the Great Lakes; and the presence of the brown spruce long-horned beetle which has led to the destruction and removal of thousands of trees in Halifax’s Point Pleasant Park.
The ministers recognize the growing danger posed by wildlife diseases on wildlife, human health and the economy. In particular, Ministers agreed to address the pressing issue of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) threatening deer and elk populations, by moving forward on development of an action plan for managing this disease and preventing its further spread. This action plan could serve as a potential model for addressing other wildlife diseases.
Federal, provincial and territorial ministers agreed to work together on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS). ABS refers to the third objective of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity, which calls for “the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits of access to genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge,” particularly in relation to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors.
Ministers responsible for Endangered Species (the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council - CESCC) met to review progress of critical components of the Species at Risk Act (SARA.)
CESCC released two reports, both of which are available to the public:
Ministers thanked Minister Jenkins for hosting this year’s meetings. At the close of proceedings, Saskatchewan’s Environment Minister, David Forbes, invited his colleagues to his province for the 2005 Ministerial Council Meetings.
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Yukon Department of the Environment