Invasive species have become a costly problem for the United States. Invaders have ruined numerous local fishing economies and ecosystems. Though this problem was inevitable, there was a point in US history at which someone could have taken decisive action and implemented policies that could have slowed the spread of invasive species and saved the US a great deal of money. Unfortunately, as Dr. Lodge noted in his lecture, few legal actions have been taken to control the problem of invasive species, and all of these actions have proven to be extremely ineffective.
In addition to ineffective management of these invaders at the national level in the US, variations in species regulation at the local level also contributes to this problem. Peters and Lodge (2009) investigated crawfish regulations in the Laurentian Great Lakes area as an example of how poorly the movement of species is managed. They found great disparities in the severity of these regulations among different areas surrounding the Great Lakes, which confuses crawfish vendors and exacerbates the problem of invasive species. The variance in regulations is likely present among regulatory laws for other species as well.
In order to successfully manage invasive species, consistent and firm regulations need to be implemented at the state or national level; local regulations are ineffective. If management of invasive species is to be done at the state level, states need to work closely to prevent confusion that may result from the transport of these species. Peters and Lodge (2009) also recommend that any harm that comes from the introduction (accidental or otherwise) of a foreign species be the responsibility of the person or organization that allowed the introduction. This is a promising idea that would probably decrease the amount of “accidental” introductions of invasive species. Regardless of which path legislators decide to take, action should be taken to increase invasive species regulations as soon as possible.
Peters JA, DM Lodge. 2009. Invasive Species Policy at the Regional Level: A Multiple Weak Links Problem. Fisheries 34: 373-381.