Can software help protect our waters from more invasions by exotic species?
That’s what the Great Lakes Commission (GLC) wants to find out as part of a two-year project entitled “Protecting the Great Lakes from Internet Trade of Aquatic Invasive Species.” With assistance from a variety of sources, it hopes to develop web-crawling software that will identify online sellers of invasive species.
“The purpose of this project is to find out what the availability of the species we are concerned about is online, and then provide sellers information on invasive species and let them know either the species is regulated or that there might be a potential risk with the species they are selling,” said Erika Jensen, senior program specialist at GLC. “Also, to provide that information to state and federal agencies so they have a better idea of what the situation is.”
Although this strategy reminds me of “Big Brother” oversight, it is a good idea, I think. In fact, I wish that something like this had been developed sooner. In a civilized society, some degree of regulation and oversight is required to protect citizens and their public resources. And we’re long over-due for some innovative and effective ways of combating the invasion of our lands and waters by exotic species.