Increased trade, travel and tourism have contributed to an increase in the movement of INNS globally. These human activities have led to the movement of INNS such as the killer shrimp, Himalayan balsam and the carpet sea squirt from their native habitat to new areas. Because of the impact INNS can cause, there is an important role to play in preventing their introduction, limiting their spread if already established and, where possible, eradication.
What are Invasive and Non-Native Species?
Non-native species are plants and animals which have been introduced into areas outside their natural habitat through human action. Most are environmentally benign, and in some cases, their establishment has positive environmental, social and economic effects, for example by providing habitat and food for native species, in addition to provisioning and cultural services. However, a small proportion (about 10-15%) become invasive, spreading widely and having significant adverse environmental, social and/or economic impacts.
‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ is a central principle to controlling INNS. Stopping the introduction and spread of INNS is considered the most cost-effective approach to their management. Pathway risk assessment to understand hotspots of risk, along with the development of suitable biosecurity plans to limit the chances of INNS spreading, are therefore essential elements in combating INNS.
However, even with the most robust biosecurity plan, INNS may still be introduced. It is therefore important to have rigorous monitoring and detection programmes so new introductions can be identified quickly, and appropriate action taken straight away.
For INNS that are already established, containment or eradication measures should be implemented to stop their spread.
How APEM can help
APEM has a dedicated team which provides expert advice on the management of INNS. Using our dedicated tools developed and tested in-house, we produce detailed site risk assessments for key pathways and activities, such as raw water transfers and port developments. We combine our risk assessment outputs with bespoke options appraisals to develop biosecurity plans aimed at reducing the risk of INNS spread.
We have extensive experience in monitoring a broad range of species, using appropriate methods and often employing innovative solutions, such as aerial surveys to record the spread of floating water pennywort and Himalayan balsam. Our expert laboratory teams are experienced in INNS identification, including such milestones as being the first to detect the demon shrimp and the window shell in the UK. We also have experience in implementing a range of eradication and management programmes tackling specific populations, including signal crayfish.
If you are experiencing issues with INNS, have a regulatory requirement to manage them, or want to understand more about our approach please visit our INNS page or contact Dr Paul Stebbing directly to discuss your needs.