FREDERICTON (GNB) – New legislation will be introduced to regulate the possession and ownership of exotic species in New Brunswick.

“The new Exotic Animals Act will strengthen safeguards for public safety, human health, and the health and safety of our native species and their habitats,” said Energy and Resource Development Minister Rick Doucet. “This act will address gaps in inspection and enforcement that exist under the current legislation.”

The Exotic Animal Task Force recommended in 2015 that the government review existing legislation, saying it did not adequately address regulation and enforcement of exotic animals.

The task force members also concluded that exotic species can pose significant health and safety risks to other animals, as well as to ecosystems and people.

“The proposed act will apply to wildlife that is not native to New Brunswick,” said Doucet. “The definition of exotic animal will include certain fish, wildlife and invertebrates such as scorpions and spiders. The proposed legislation will regulate the import, possession, sale, public display, propagation, export and release of exotic animals.”

Regulations will be developed to describe the categories of permit holders, as well as the terms and conditions for permits.

A list of exotic animals that do not require a permit will be approved. Animals not included on that list will require a permit through the Department of Energy and Resource Development.

“Animals that are not on the list are not there for one or more of the following reasons: they are a risk to human health; they are a risk to public safety; or they pose a risk to native species or the habitat of native species,” said Doucet.