The introduction and spread of non-indigenous aquatic invasive species (AIS) in marine and freshwater environments have had significant negative ecological and economic impacts worldwide. Next to habitat loss, invasive species are the greatest threat to native biological diversity.
The International Conference on Aquatic Invasive Species (ICAIS) had its genesis in 1989 when the first North American conference on aquatic invasive species was held to address the introduction and spread of zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) in the Laurentian Great Lakes.
Over the past three decades this conference series has become the most comprehensive international forum for review of accumulated scientific knowledge; presentation of the latest research; introduction of new technologies for prevention, monitoring and control; discussion of policy and legislation; and showcasing public education and outreach initiatives that raise awareness of AIS in freshwater, marine and estuarine environments.
In 2014 the Canada-Ontario Invasive Species Centre (ISC) received approval from their Board of Directors to become ICAIS Secretariat to provide continuity, leadership, and administrative oversight of the conference going forward. In that capacity, the ISC collaborates with the host organization of each conference.