International Maritime Organization.
Amendments to an international treaty aimed at preventing the spread of potentially invasive species in ships' ballast water entered into force on 13 October 2019. The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004 (the BWM Convention) was adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations, to address this problem. The BWM Convention entered into force in 2017. The amendments formalise an implementation schedule to ensure ships manage their ballast water to meet a specified standard ("D-2 standard") aimed at ensuring that viable organisms are not released into new sea areas, and make mandatory the Code for Approval of Ballast Water Management Systems, which sets out how ballast water management systems used to achieve the D-2 standard have to be assessed and approved. This will help ensure that aquatic organisms and pathogens are removed or rendered harmless before the ballast water is released into a new location – and avoid the spread of invasive species as well as potentially harmful pathogens.
UN. FAO. Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.
An insect that can infest and damage hundreds of hectares of maize fields, literally overnight, is sweeping across Asia – alarming smallholder farmers and threatening livelihoods – but the damage can be limited, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported today. Fall Armyworm is native to the Americas. However, since 2016 it has been aggressively moving ever eastwards, sweeping across Africa, and making landfall for the first time in Asia last summer. Fall Armyworm (FAW) was first detected in India in July 2018 and by January of this year, it had spread to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand and China’s Yunnan Province.
National Environmental Science Programme (Australia). Threatened Species Recovery Hub.
New research by the Threatened Species Recovery Hub has shown that invasive or pest species are a problem for 1,257 threatened species in Australia, or about four out of five species. The research which has been published in the scientific journal Pacific Conservation Biology also identified the top ten invasive species based on how many threatened species they impact. Lead researcher Stephen Kearney from the University of Queensland said many people may be surprised at which species top the list. “Rabbits, a plant root disease and feral pigs are the top three pest species impacting Australia’s threatened species,” Mr Kearney said.
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.
More than 50 non-native species have found their way to the Galápagos Islands, over 10 times more than scientists previously thought, reports a new study in Aquatic Invasions published Thursday, March 28. The study, a joint effort of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Williams College, and the Charles Darwin Foundation, documents 53 species of introduced marine animals in this UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the largest marine protected areas on Earth. Before this study came out, scientists knew about only five.
Government of Canada.
Grass carp, one of four species of Asian carp, has the potential to disrupt the Great Lakes ecosystem and economy unless their spread is stopped, according to a report released by Fisheries and Oceans Canada with support from the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. The socio-economic study concludes that, in addition to the significant ecological threat that is posed by the presence of grass carp in the Great Lakes, there would also be economic, social and cultural ripple effects. The full report can be viewed here (PDF | 1.34 MB).
California Academy of Sciences; National Geographic Society.
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Montana Invasive Species Council.
Montana’s economy could see more than $230 million in annual mitigation costs and lost revenue if invasive mussels become established in the state, according to a report released by the Montana Invasive Species Council (MISC). Commissioned by MISC and completed by the University of Montana Flathead Biological Station, the economic impact study provides “a snapshot of projected direct costs to affected stakeholders dependent on water resources,” said Bryce Christiaens, MISC chair. “It does not reflect the total economic impact to the state, which would be considerably higher.” View a one-page fact sheet (PDF | 484 KB) or the full report (PDF | 4.0 MB).
In October 2016, the European Parliament and the Council adopted Regulation (EU) 2016/2031 on protective measures against plant pests (“Plant Health Law”). On 13 December 2016, the Regulation entered into force and will be applicable from 14 December 2019. The new rules aim to modernise the plant health regime, enhancing more effective measures for the protection of the Union's territory and its plants. The Plant Health Law increases the prevention against the introduction of new pests via imports from third countries. Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/2019 establishes the list of high risk plants the introduction of which into the EU territory will be provisionally prohibited from 14 December 2019 until a full risk assessment has been carried out. Published in the Official Journal on 11 October 2019, the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/1702 lists 20 quarantine pests as priority pests, including Xylella fastidiosa, the Japanese beetle, the Asian long-horned beetle, Citrus greening and Citrus Black Spot, whose economic, environmental and social impact on EU territory is the most severe.
Great Lakes Commission.
Aquatic invasive species inflict millions of dollars of ecological and economic damage to the Great Lakes, with impacts on coastal industries, water quality, native fish and wildlife and human health. Recently, Blue Accounting, in partnership with state and federal agencies, launched a new suite of web-based resources and tools to support early detection of aquatic invasive species in the Great Lakes. The earlier new aquatic invasive species are detected, the easier and less expensive it is to avoid potentially devastating consequences of a large invasion. The new tools released by the Blue Accounting initiative help target efforts to focus on high-risk species and locations across the 11,000 miles of shoreline and 94,000 miles of surface area that make up the Great Lakes basin.
Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources.
The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) announced today that a single dead specimen of the invasive pest known as spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) was reported and confirmed at a private residence in Boston. As a result, MDAR is urging the public to check for signs of spotted lanternfly adults in any potted plants that they may have received over the holiday season and to report any potential sightings of this pest on MDAR's online reporting form by taking photographs and collecting a specimen if possible. Residents should look for large, gray insects, about one inch long, with black spots and red underwings.
Nordic Council of Ministers. Nordregio.
One of the projects supported by the Arctic Co-operation programme of the Nordic Council of Ministers is launching a major campaign to raise public awareness of the threat posed to the Arctic by alien species travelling with tourists and other visitors. Nordregio takes part in the campaign in its capacity as secretariat for the Nordic-Arctic programme. “Are you travelling alone?” asks an animated polar bear in a new campaign video as he examines some clothes, shoes and equipment belonging to the travellers that step off boats and airplanes that bring them to the Arctic. The video is launched together with travel operators, airline companies, travel agencies and tourist offices that have the Arctic as a travel destination, as well as national and regional authorities to make sure it reaches as far as possible – hopefully unlike the alien species it aims to warn against.
USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the presence of virulent Newcastle disease in a small flock of backyard exhibition chickens in Utah County, Utah. This is the first case of virulent Newcastle disease in Utah. This case is believed to be connected to the current outbreak of virulent Newcastle disease in California, as three of the birds at the premises were recently moved to Utah from Los Angeles County, California. Since May 2018, 299 cases of Newcastle disease have been confirmed in Southern California, primarily in backyard exhibition birds.
Virulent Newcastle disease is not a food safety concern. No human cases of Newcastle disease have ever occurred from eating poultry products.
If a fire ant colony is flooded during a rainstorm or other high-water situation, the ants cling together and form a living raft that floats on the flood waters. Once the raft hits dry ground or a tree, rock, or other dry object, the ants can leave the water.
Footage Shows Massive Colonies of Fire Ants Floating in Hurricane Florence Floodwaters (Sep 18, 2018)
Floodwaters will not drown fire ants. In the wake of Hurricane Florence, victims in the storm's path are being warned to avoid wading through dangerous floodwaters (in addition to other reasons and threats).