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.
Invasive Species Resources
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International Maritime Organization.
Invasive Carp Regional Coordinating Committee.
The Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee announced the release of its 2021 Asian Carp Action Plan, a comprehensive portfolio of projects focused on Great Lakes protection.
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.
Canada's coasts and waterways are vital to our environment, livelihoods, and economy, and must be protected. Ballast water, which helps keep vessels stable in the water, can accidentally introduce and spread aquatic invasive species, like the zebra mussel, if released in the water untreated. To further protect Canadian waters, the Government of Canada is taking action to limit the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species in ballast water. Today, the Canadian Minister of Transport announced the coming into force of the new Ballast Water Regulations to strengthen existing rules for vessels on international voyages and the introduction of new rules for vessels which remain in Canada and on the Great Lakes. These regulations, which replace the Ballast Water Control and Management Regulations, apply to vessels in Canadian waters and to Canadian vessels anywhere in the world. Vessels are now required to:
- plan their ballast water management and reduce the number of organisms in their ballast water, typically by installing a ballast water management system; and
- carry a valid certificate, keep records, and be regularly surveyed and inspected. Smaller vessels may follow an equivalent approach tailored to their operations and size.
Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.
Urban legends about the origins of canal grass in Panama abound, but the Smithsonian has new evidence that puts the question to rest. Canal grass is an invasive weed, native to Asia. Because its tiny seeds blow in the wind, it readily invades clearings and spreads to form impenetrable stands by budding from tillers and rhizomes. Once established, canal grass is challenging to eliminate.
UN. Food and Agriculture Organization.
Due to the impact of climate change, plant pests that ravage economically important crops are becoming more destructive and posing an increasing threat to food security and the environment, finds a scientific review released this week. The Scientific Review on the Impact of Climate Change on Plant Pests - A global challenge to prevent and mitigate plant pest risks in agriculture, forestry and ecosystems was prepared under the auspices of the Secretariat of the International Plant Protection Convention and is one of the key initiatives of the International Year of Plant Health, which is coming to an end this month. "The key findings of this review should alert all of us on how climate change may affect how infectious, distributed and severe pests can become around the world," said the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Qu Dongyu. "The review clearly shows that the impact of climate change is one of the greatest challenges the plant health community is facing," added Qu.
North American Invasive Species Management Association.
A new invasive species coalition is celebrating significant milestones in preventing expansion of invasive species after the first anniversary of an important agreement. The North American Invasive Species Management Association, Wildlife Forever, the National Park Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are working to implement on-the-ground strategies to engage the American public and help prevent the spread of invasive species under the new agreement.
NeoBiota 67: 485-510.
Invasive species can have severe impacts on ecosystems, economies, and human health. Though the economic impacts of invasions provide important foundations for management and policy, up-to-date syntheses of these impacts are lacking. To produce the most comprehensive estimate of invasive species costs within North America (including the Greater Antilles) to date, we synthesized economic impact data from the recently published InvaCost database (see related research article: InvaCost, a public database of the economic costs of biological invasions worldwide (Sep 8, 2020).
See also: This article is part of NeoBiota 67: The economic costs of biological invasions around the world.
Australian Government. Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.
The exotic plant pest fall armyworm has been detected for the first time in Australia, in a network of surveillance traps on the northern Torres Strait islands of Saibai and Erub. Head of Biosecurity at the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, Lyn O'Connell, said the caterpillar stage of the fall armyworm, also known as Spodoptera frugiperda, damages many crops across Africa and Asia vital to human food security, such as rice, maize and sorghum. "Everyone can do their part to protect Australia from biosecurity risks like fall armyworm by being aware of what can and cannot be brought to Australia from overseas or from the Torres Strait region and reporting any unexpected pests, plant matter or soil."
Adult moths of fall armyworm were detected in surveillance traps monitored by the Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy. These traps were set up as part of preparedness activities for early detection as fall armyworm is a strong flyer and has been spreading rapidly through Southeast Asia countries in recent months. For more information, see Fall Armyworm and Other Exotic Armyworms from the Australian Department of Agriculture.
Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme.
Four new publications have been added to the 'Pacific Invasive Battler Series,' and are now available for free download from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), to help Pacific practitioners, environmental managers, government and community members in specific areas of invasive species management.
Developed through the Pacific Regional Invasive Species Management Support Service (PRISMSS), the Battler Series is an important resource for those working to restore ecosystems and manage invasive species. It provides tested best practice approaches through step by step guidance, case studies and visual aid for those battling invasive species. The series provides information and case-studies that can assist those working in the field and is written in a user-friendly way. There are now 15 publications in the Pacific Invasive Battler Series, and they are available for download on the Battler Resource Base.
World Organisation for Animal Health; UN. Food and Agriculture Organization.
The escalation of the spread of African swine fever (ASF) has placed most of the world's domestic and wild pig populations under direct threat. To support countries' efforts to protect economies and food security, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have launched a joint initiative for the Global Control of ASF.
International Maritime Organization.
A key international measure for environmental protection that aims to stop the spread of potentially invasive aquatic species in ships’ ballast water enters into force. The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention) addresses aquatic invasive alien species (IAS) by requiring all ships to implement a ballast water management plan, among other actions.
See also: Ballast Water Convention Enters into Force (Sep 12, 2017)
Government of Canada.
French National Centre for Scientific Research.
Scientists from the CNRS, the IRD, and the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle have just released the most comprehensive estimate to date of the financial toll of invasive species: nearly $1.3 trillion over four decades. Published in Nature (31 March 2021), their findings are based on the InvaCost database, which is financed by the BNP Paribas Foundation and the Paris-Saclay University Foundation’s AXA Chair of Invasion Biology. The annual expenses generated by biological invasions are only increasing, with no sign of any slowing.
California Academy of Sciences; National Geographic Society.
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Seek by iNaturalist is an educational tool and provides a kid-friendly alternative. Seek allows you to identify plants and animals from your photos by harnessing image recognition technology, drawing from existing data collected from observations on iNaturalist (no registration is required, and no user data is collected).
DOI. Office of Insular Affairs.
U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs, Douglas W. Domenech announced $942,206 in fiscal year (FY) 2020 Coral Reef and Natural Resources Initiative grants to eradicate and control the spread of invasive species in the U.S. territories of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), as well as in the Republic of Palau, and Yap, in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). Funding will be used to introduce biological control of coconut rhinoceros beetles, control and eradicate feral cats and monitor lizards, and destroy wild vines, all of which are disruptive to ecological systems and impacting communities and livelihoods in the islands.
DOI. Office of Insular Affairs.
The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) has announced $2,772,443 in Coral Reef and Natural Resources Initiative (CRNR) grant funds to protect coral reef resources in the U.S. territories and the freely associated states. The funding includes $1,541,421 that will support efforts to control and eradicate invasive species in the insular areas. Grants for fiscal year 2021 to combat invasive species have been awarded as follows:
- University of Guam for research and related efforts to counter the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle - $866,423
- Micronesia Conservation Trust, a regional non-governmental organization, for the eradication, control, and management of invasive species in Kosrae, Chuuk, and Yap - $300,000
- Island Conservation, a non-profit organization, for the removal of invasive rats in Mili Atoll, Marshall Islands - $299,838
- Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Government for Sabana Pandanus Forest control and native trees restoration project - $75,160
InvaCost is the most up-to-date, comprehensive, standardized and robust data compilation and description of economic cost estimates associated with invasive species worldwide. InvaCost has been constructed to provide a contemporary and freely available repository of monetary impacts that can be relevant for both research and evidence-based policy making.