One thing that I found particularly interesting about aquatic invasive species policy is the “weakest link” problem of gaps in regional policy. The main article I read about this in was the Peters and Lodge et al 2009 paper titled: “Invasive Species Policy at the Regional Level: A Multiple Weak Links Problem”. The article talks about how invasive species that affect an entire region – in this case, Rusty Crayfish (Orconectes rusticus) in the Laurentian Great Lakes region – can be under several different sets of policy controls. The entire Great Lakes region has declared rusty crayfish to be a major concern and a dangerous invasive species (Peters and Lodge et al 2009). However, not all of the states in that region have effective controls enacted against these crustaceans. For example, there are no regulations against anglers possessing crayfish in the state of Michigan, but in Wisconsin it is illegal to possess ANY crayfish (Peters and Lodge et al 2009).
The differences in policy in a high-traffic region such as the Laurentian Great Lakes make it difficult to control invasive species that have negative effects on all surrounding areas. It also took most of the states surrounding the Great Lakes around 30-40 years to enact policy after the first crayfish establishments had been recorded (Peters and Lodge et al 2009). It seems clear that if the entire region has determined rusty crayfish to be a viable threat, the entire region should enact uniform policies in order to halt the spread and reduce crayfish populations. However, neighboring states continue to have conflicting policies that only make it harder to effectively control the rusty crayfish invasions. I believe that enforcing region-wide policies is the first step to being able to manage rusty crayfish populations and eventually reduce their negative impacts.
Peters JA, DM Lodge. 2009. Invasive Species Policy at the Regional Level: A Multiple Weak Links Problem. Fisheries 34:373-381.