OT Biosecurity Project

Tackling Invasive Non-native Species in the UK Overseas Territories

In 2016, the UK Government committed £2.75m to assisting the UK OTs in tackling invasive non-native species under the Honolulu Challenge, an international call for action against invasive alien species launched by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Specifically, this involves a commitment of £1 million towards developing comprehensive biosecurity for the OTs by providing them with access to UK expertise on risk analysis, pathway management, pest identification, horizon scanning, contingency planning, rapid response capability and species management.

The OT Biosecurity Project runs to March 2020 and is coordinated by a team led by the GB Non-native Species Secretariat.

The project was initiated with a biosecurity gap analysis. Current activities include:

  • Pathway analysis
  • Horizon scanning exercise, led by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
  • Development of an eLearning module for biosecurity officials
  • Development of a field guide to non-native species in the wider Caribbean region, led by Fera
  • Technical support for biosecurity

Project news

March 2019

New e-learning available - Biosecurity for the Overseas Territories

A new e-learning module, Biosecurity for the Overseas Territories, is now available on the NNSS e-learning website.

January 2019

Completing horizon scanning for Gibraltar

A horizon scanning workshop was held for Gibraltar from 21st to 24th January 2019, coordinated by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Climate Change, and the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens. Find out more here.

December 2018

Completing horizon scanning for the Atlantic territories

A team of 16 people headed out to St Helena Island in November to carry out the final tranche of horizon scanning for the Atlantic territories: St Helena Island, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha. The workshop was hosted by the Agriculture and Natural Resources Division of the St Helena Government (SHG), with participants including the international team led by Prof Helen Roy from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, and local experts from SHG, the St Helena National Trust and independent consultants. Find out more here.

October 2018

First horizon scanning exercise for the Atlantic territories

The programme of horizon scanning to identify priority non-native invasive species of concern to each UK Overseas Territory has now been completed for the first three of the six Atlantic Territories. The consensus workshop for the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (SGSSI), and the British Antarctic Territory (BAT) was held from 22nd to 25th October at the David Attenborough Building, Cambridge. Around 25 participants attended the workshop, which was hosted by the IUCN and led by Prof. Helen Roy from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, assisted by a team of local and global taxonomic experts. Find out more here.

August 2018

British Indian Ocean Territory horizon scanning exercise

Horizon scanning was completed in early August 2018 for the British Indian Ocean Territory; click here for further details.

June 2018

Caribbean horizon scanning exercise


The first horizon scanning exercise was held for the six Caribbean Overseas Territories, in the Cayman Islands from 21 to 25 May. Hosted jointly by the Cayman Islands’ Department of Environment and Department of Agriculture, the workshop was led by Prof. Helen Roy from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, assisted by a team of taxonomic experts from the EU and Caribbean region. A total of 40 participants developed short-lists of priority species for both the wider region as a whole, and for each individual Territory. Lists are being finalised and will be available here when complete.

Field guide for Caribbean plant pests

Identification of non-native invertebrate species can be a problem for agricultural workers and biosecurity officers. Fera Science Ltd have produced a draft Field Guide to Invasive Alien Plant Pests in the Caribbean UK Overseas Territories. The Field Guide includes examples of impact, a general introduction to the taxonomic groups, field diagnosis and 50 fact sheets for common pest species.

E-learning on Better Biosecurity

A draft e-learning module “Better Biosecurity” has been developed and is available here. The module is designed to provide basic biosecurity training for people working at the front line in biosecurity, both at the border and internally: biosecurity officers, customs officers, and conservationists, etc.

Image: South Georgia, MOD Crown Copyright


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