Published: 17 April 2014
The EU has approved legislation to curtail the spread of invasive species. Effective within a few months, this will involve a prohibition on the possession, transport, selling or growing of plant groups considered to be of "Union Concern".
Berry Head Countryside Officer Noel Hughes explains the situation, “Invasive species have a major impact on biodiversity and can lead to species extinction. Since Victorian times people have travelled extensively across the planet with the unfortunate result of, intentionally or unintentionally, returning with living alien species. Once established in their new environment, these invasive species can cause tremendous damage to the indigenous ecosystem. Thriving within a potentially improved climate and with no threat of natural predators there is an increased possibility of population explosion and crowding out of native species. Prime examples are fast growing plants such as Japanese Knotweed and the Himalayan Balsam which removes moisture from river banks leading to erosion and loss of other plant types”.
Hughes confirms that these two invasive groups are present in the bay as is the filter-feeder American Slipper Limpet and he urges nature lovers who discover any of these to refer to the Non Native Species Secretariat (www.nonnativespecies.org) for information and guidelines.
The Asian Hornet is a non-native predator currently spreading through Europe and of great concern to the UK as it can completely wipe out bee colonies and other pollinating insects with a massive impact on the pollination of flowering plants. Hughes describes the hornet as “Relatively easy to distinguish from a conventional wasp or European Hornet, the Asian Hornet has a dark body and black abdomen with one yellow segment. It is very likely that this hornet might be able to make the hop across the channel so we appeal to anyone who identifies it to please contact the NNSS.”
Image courtesy Jean Haxaire