July 17, 2008

Invasive Species Cost Great Lakes $200M

A U.S. study suggests invasive species brought in by ocean-going ships may be costing the Great Lakes region more than $200 million a year.

A study by the the Center for Aquatic Conservation at the University of Notre Dame and the University of Wyoming said the losses include commercial fishing, sport fishing and the region's water supply.

David Lodge, director of the Center for Aquatic Conservation said the $200 million figure is preliminary. The losses are for the U.S. alone, with comparable losses expected in Canada, he said Wednesday in a news release. Losses may also grow as these invaders spread from the source of invasion and across the country on boats, recreational equipment or natural migration.

The report said 68 percent of the 84 invasive species established in the Great Lakes can be linked to ballast tanks in ocean-going ships. The species include zebra and quagga mussels, Eurasian ruffe, round goby and spiny water flea.