11/05/2014 11:38 EST | Updated 01/05/2015 05:59 EST

Ontario using legislation to target spread of invasive species

TORONTO - The Ontario government is looking to prevent the introduction and stop the spread of invasive species such as Asian carp and the emerald ash borer through legislation being introduced today.

The bill — first proposed before the spring election and now being reintroduced — would allow the province to ban the possession and transportation of certain invasive species and prevent the movement of contaminated firewood.

Natural Resources Minister Bill Mauro says invasive species pose a significant risk to both the natural environment and the economy.

Government officials say the total cost of managing the impacts of zebra mussels in Ontario is estimated to be about $75 to $91 million per year.

The Great Lakes are at risk of Asian carp entering the waterways and the government says they could do "long-lasting damage" to the environment and the economy, such as affecting the recreational fishing industry here in Ontario.