News

Invasive Species Week 2020 - postponed

25 March 2020

Invasive Species Week 2020 - postponed
We have taken the decision to postpone Invasive Species Week 2020 due to the COVID-19 situation. Apologies to everyone involved and thank you for all your hard work in preparing for the week. We do not have a replacement date in mind at present but if you would like to be kept updated you can request to be added to our mailing list by contacting nnss@apha.gov.uk

Best wishes, the GB NNSS

Campaign to Retain and Report American Lobsters

27 February 2020

Campaign to Retain and Report American Lobsters
Today sees Cefas launch a campaign to raise awareness within the fishing community of the threat to native species from the non-native species of lobster, the American lobster. This Defra-funded initiative encourages fishers and others to “retain and report” any American lobsters that they capture, to measure and reduce impacts they are having in our marine environment.

American lobsters have been imported to the UK since the late 1950s for consumption in restaurants and homes. For example, in 2015, 1,744 tonnes were imported, worth £15.75 million. American lobsters tend to grow to larger sizes than European lobster, have a larger dietary range, are more tolerant of different habitats, are more aggressive and produce more eggs than European lobsters. This means they are at a competitive advantage over the native species. American lobsters might also carry the bacterial disease, Gaffkaemia, or Epizootic Shell Disease. Transferring these diseases to native stocks could result in major economic losses to fishers. There is also a risk of American lobsters bringing other non-native species to our waters, such as barnacles and other small invertebrates which have attached themselves to the lobster.

The campaign aims to engage with lobster fishers explaining the legal position, how to identify an American lobster, the risks posed by the animals and the importance of retaining and reporting them to their local fisheries officers at the Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) or Marine Management Organisation (MMO). Knowingly releasing a non-native species to the wild is an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, including returning one to the sea at point of capture.

The project lead at Cefas, Debbie Murphy, said “This a great opportunity for us to work with industry to gain information about whether these animals are affecting their fishery or not. By collecting this data Defra will be in a stronger position to make informed decisions regarding policy, and able to work to protect both the trade in American lobsters and wild stocks of European lobsters”.

Reports of American lobsters caught in our waters have historically been in low numbers and generally single animals, contributed to by escapes from holding tanks or releases by well-meaning members of the public or religious groups. The biggest contributor to American lobsters in English waters was a mass-release in June 2015 of 361 specimens off Brighton by Buddhist monks as part of their religious practice known as ‘fang sheng.’ In the months following this release, 136 American lobsters were removed from the sea in the surrounding area making up a large proportion of the 149 American lobsters reported from 2012 to 2018.

Almost 5 years on from the mass release and with less than half of the American lobsters having been reported as recaptured, Defra are keen to know what impact the animals may have had.

Posters and leaflets designed to help fishers understand the key features commonly associated with American lobster compared to European lobster, along with contact details to report suspected American lobsters have been produced by Cefas and are available on the GB Non-Native Species Secretariat website. Similar campaigns are planned in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales in 2020.

Environment Agency launch 'Challenges and Choices' consultation

25 October 2019

Environment Agency launch 'Challenges and Choices' consultation
The Environment Agency have launched a consultation seeking your views on the challenges our waters face and the choices we all need to make to improve and protect this vital and precious resource. Challenge 3 focuses on invasive non-native species 

From the Environment Agency: 

Your responses to this consultation will help shape the future approach to managing the water environment and will be used to update the existing river basin management plans in 2021.

The Challenges and Choices consultation seeks your views on:
  • the challenges that threaten the water environment
  • how we can work together to manage our waters
  • who should pay
Our ‘Small Changes, Big Picture’ films are online now to help you learn about the challenges facing water today and what you can do to help. Watch the trailer on Environment Agency TV.

How to respond:

Go to: https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/environment-and-business/challenges-and-choices 

The closing date for receipt of your comments is 24 April 2020.

If you have any queries please email RBMPConsultation@environment-agency.gov.uk

Save the date! Invasive Species Week 2020.

24 October 2019

Save the date! Invasive Species Week 2020.
The sixth Invasive Species Week will take place from 18-22 May 2020. Organisations across England, Guernsey, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Jersey, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales will be working together to raise awareness of invasive non-native species, their impacts, and how everyone can help to prevent their spread.

Find out how you can take part and register for email updates here.


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