EU approves agreement on invasive alien species management

Brussels, March 20: The European Union (EU) Wednesday approved a compromise regulation on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species.

The regulation lays down rules to prevent, minimise and mitigate the adverse impacts of the introduction and spread, both intentional and unintentional, of invasive alien species on biodiversity, the related ecosystem services, as well as other economic and social impacts, Xinhua quoted an EU statement as saying.

The European Commission, the executive wing of EU, will adopt an open list of invasive alien species of concern, which will be regularly updated and reviewed at the latest every six years, the statement said.

“Species on the list may not be intentionally brought into the territory of the EU, nor may they be kept, bred, transported to, from or within the Union, placed on the market, grown or released into the environment.”

Invasive alien species are species that are initially transported through human action outside their natural range across ecological barriers, and then survive, reproduce and spread and have negative impacts on the ecology of their new location as well as serious economic and social consequences.

It has been estimated that, of the 12,000 or so alien species that are found in the European environment, between 10 percent and 15 percent have reproduced and spread, causing environmental, economic and social damage. They are estimated to cost the EU at least 12 billion euros (over $16 billion) per year.