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GLIN==> News Release - Spend Valentine's Day with Some Aliens



                                 MN SEA GRANT
                                 NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release                         Contact: Elizabeth Muckle-Jeffs
2/11/00                                                613-732-6289

                 Spend Valentine’s Day with Some Aliens

They’ve come from the far reaches of the globe, invading local lakes and 
harbors.  Most are ugly, but some are actually pretty.  What are they?  Aquatic 
nuisance species (ANS).  About 400 participants from across North America and 
Europe will gather in Toronto, Ontario, during Valentine’s Day week to discuss 
the impacts and control of these invasive plants and animals, ranging from the 
bulbous-eyed round goby (a fish) to the pretty purple loosestrife (a plant).  

The 10th International Aquatic Nuisance Species and Zebra Mussel Conference, 
February 13-17, 2000, is considered the most comprehensive forum for world 
experts to present results concerning impacts of aquatic nuisance species.  This
year's conference will feature marine species for the first time as well as 
research reports concerning the biology, ecology, control and management, and 
impacts of freshwater ANS.  Workshops are offered concerning limiting factors on
zebra mussel distribution, techniques to raise political awareness, plasma pulse
technology control of zebra mussels, exotic fish, ways industries can control 
ANS, and regulation of ballast water effluent.

There will be a special workshop for educators and shoreland owners called, 
"Aquatic Invaders,"  which will be held on February 13 from 9 am to 4 pm.  
Co-sponsored by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, this workshop 
will help people learn about ANS biology and identification, how to prevent 
their spread, and techniques to raise greater public ANS awareness within their 
communities. Educators will learn about activities and lessons for students 
concerning the wide range of problems associated with zebra mussels, spiny 
waterfleas, round gobies, and other aquatic invaders.

"This conference is an excellent opportunity to share the latest findings, 
technology, management strategies, and public education programs related to ANS 
prevention and control," said conference co-host Chris Wiley with Fisheries and 
Oceans Canada.  

This year's conference will take a proactive look at a wide variety of vectors. 
Several ANS have been introduced via ballast water discharged from overseas 
vessels.  However, other vectors pose risks for spreading ANS and are a new 
focus of the conference, including aquaculture practices, gardening and the sale
of exotic fish for live food and bait.

"Awareness of the issue has blossomed just like a field of purple loosestrife," 
said Wiley.  "Exotics and their effects on the environment are fast becoming THE
ecosystem issue for the first decade of the millennium."

A sampling of the over 140 presentations at the conference finds topics ranging 
from the impact of zebra mussels on shipwrecks, the role of mud in introducing 
ANS in the Great Lakes,  to beetles that eat purple loosestrife, to Giant 
Salvinia, an "escaped" aquarium plant that now forms thick carpets in waterways 
in seven southwest U.S. and all Gulf states. 

The conference will be held at the Westin Harbour Castle.  The registration fee 
includes all sessions, continental breakfasts, luncheons, coffee breaks, 
receptions, and a tour of a Great Lakes vessel.  A Sunday-only fee is available 
for people who only wish to attend the "Aquatic Invaders" Workshop.  For more 
information, access the conference Web site at www.zebraconf.org, or contact the
conference administrator, Elizabeth Muckle-Jeffs, at 613-732-6289 or by e-mail: 
profedge@renc.igs.net.
                                    --30--


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