Bio-security and Invasive Non Native Species

Biosecurity and Invasive Non Native Species Programme

Chris Horrill, Project Development Manager chris@rafts.org.uk

Biosecurity and INNS Issues

Biosecurity issues are of increasing economic and ecological significance. Globalisation has expanded the possibilities, extent and complexity of world trade and the growth of the tourism market has expanded the number of destinations for activity holidays and travellers. These trends have led to the increased probability of the unintentional as we all as intentional introduction, establishment and spread of non native species, parasites and diseases in Scotland and the UK. According to a survey, ‘An Audit of Alien Species in Scotland‘, conducted by Scottish Natural Heritage, there are approximately 1000 non native species present in Scotland the majority of which exist in small populations with little impact on native flora and fauna. However, a small but significant proportion of these non native species are invasive.

Invasive species are the second greatest threat to biodiversity and their ecological impacts and economic consequences can be devastating (e.g. Gyrodactylus salaris). This is reflected in the increasing priority given to non native invasive species in the European, UK and Scottish legal, strategy and planning frameworks. Recognition of the importance of the prevention, control or eradication of non native invasive species, parasites and diseases in river catchments provided the justification for the implementation of the RAFTS Biosecurity and Invasive Non Native Species Programme.

The RAFTS Biosecurity and Invasive Non Native Species Programme is the biggest programme of its type in Europe.  The Programme has a number of components and is delivering a range of projects aimed at the eradication, management and control of non-native invasive species:

  1. Biosecurity Planning for the prevention, detection, control and eradication of selected aquatic, riparian and coastal marine INNS, fish diseases and parasites for 25 fishery trusts covering over 95% of Scotland
  2. Eradication and/or control of invasive non-native riparian plant species across Scotland
  3. Awareness raising and training
  4. Cross border co-ordination on Invasive Non Native Species
  5. The eradication of breeding mink in north and northeastern Scotland through the Scottish Mink Initiative

The Scottish Mink Initiative

Ann-Marie MacMaster, Project Co-ordinator – ann-marie@rafts.org.uk

View the latest SMI Newsletter HERE

The Scottish Mink Initiative has been very successful over the last two and half years and, although the first phase has now closed, SMI will continue with future work largely being supported through local organisations rather than Mink Control Officers.  The work of these organisations will be guided by the SMI Project Coordinator, Ann-Marie MacMaster, who is based in North Tayside.

Read more about how this work is being delivered locally HERE

Biosecurity Planning

Biosecurity planning was initiated in October 2008 through the auspices of the RAFTS Protecting Scotland’s Freshwater Biodiversity from Non-Native Invasive Species. That project was implemented through RAFTS with support from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and the Scottish Government. Strategic guidance to the project was provided by a Steering Group comprised of representatives from the Scottish Government, SNH, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), the GB Non Native Species Secretariat (NNSS), the Deveron, Bogie and Isla Fisheries Trusts and the Argyll Fisheries Trust.

The overall aim of the project was the production of local biosecurity plans for each of the then (2008) 20 constituent trusts of RAFTS. Key project outputs and actions were:

  1. Bio-security plans for each of the 20 member trusts – view finalised plans HERE and also new plans issued for consultation
  2. Formulation of a bio-security plan template;
  3. Rapid response protocols and database; and
  4. Awareness raising and training.

Project activities were linked to the existing policy, strategic, institutional and planning frameworks and used and/or built on the experiences, outputs and opportunities provided by other initiatives addressing non native invasive species. The success of the original Biosecurity Planning Project has led to a further project to be implemented from April 2011 until March 2012 and entitled Biosecurity Planning in Scotland 2011/12: A Programme of Plans, Promotion, Implementation and Learning. This project again has support from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and the Scottish Government and strategic guidance from the same Steering Group. This project builds on the achievements and experience of the previous project and will further contribute to the building of local (Trusts and volunteer networks) capacity and awareness to implement the biosecurity plans formulated by the previous project. Particular focus is given to the development and maintenance of local reporting systems for the detection, monitoring and surveillance of INNS. These systems will link with national systems such as National Biological Records Centres and the GB Non Native Species Secretariat portal. In addition, the project will support the formulation of three further biosecurity plans (that will increase geographic coverage of biosecurity planning to over 90% of Scotland) as well as the first coastal biosecurity plan in the UK with Firth of Clyde Forum.

Eradication and/or control of invasive non-native riparian plant species across Scotland

RAFTS is working with 16 rivers and fisheries trusts throughout Scotland on the large scale strategic control on invasive non native riparian plants principally through the implementation of four major projects. With a total economic value of over £3 million, these projects will continue until 2015. They are funded by the SEPA WFD Restoration Fund, a range of local funders including the Trusts themselves and the EU Interreg IVA Programme. The projects support practical control and eradication works, capacity building, awareness and identification of good practice.

Name of Project Funders Value (£) Duration Description Participating Trusts
Invasive Non Native Plant Species Control Phase 1 SEPA Restoration Fund, various local funders 314k 2009-2012 Control and eradication of invasive non native riparian plant species in range of catchments, training of Trust staff and volunteers. Undertaken in partnership with 6 Trusts.
  • Cromarty Firth
  • Deveron, Isla and Bogie
  • Esk  Rivers
  • Argyll
  • Galloway
  • Ayrshire
  • RAFTS
Invasive Non Native Plant Species Control Phase 2 SEPA Restoration Fund, various local funders 486k 2010-2014 Control and eradication of invasive non native riparian plant species in range of catchments, training of Trust staff and volunteers. Undertaken in partnership with 6 Trusts.
  • Cromarty Firth
  • Kyle of Sutherland
  • West Sutherland
  • Lochaber
  • Galloway
  • RAFTS
Invasive Non Native Plant Species Control Phase 3 SEPA Restoration Fund, various local funders 471k 2011-2015 Control and eradication of invasive non native riparian plant species in range of catchments, training of Trust staff and volunteers. Undertaken in partnership with 4 Trusts.
  • Esk Rivers
  • Deveron, Isla and Bogie
  • Don
  • Dee
  • Nith
  • Annan
  • RAFTS
Invasive Non Native Plant Species Control Phase 4 SEPA Restoration Fund, various local funders 608k 2011-2015 Control and eradication of invasive non native riparian plant species in range of catchments, training of Trust staff and volunteers. Undertaken in partnership with 4 Trusts.
  • Ayrshire
  • Findhorn, Nairn and Lossie
  • Forth
  • RAFTS
Controlling priority invasive non native riparian plants and restoring native biodiversity EU Interreg IVa 1.195M 2010-2014 Control and eradication of invasive non native riparian plant species in 12 catchments, awareness activities, training of Trust staff and volunteers, best practice identification and dissemination. The project is part-financed by the European Union’s INTERREG IVA programme. Undertaken in partnership with 3 Trusts and Tweed Forum.
  • Argyll
  • Ayrshire
  • Galloway
  • Tweed Forum
  • RAFTS

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Awareness and Capacity Building

The RAFTS Biosecurity and INNS Programme has its own website that provides users access to work being undertaken including the potential and actual means of introduction and spread of a range of non native species, parasites and diseases. Users will also be able to access the completed biosecurity plans, the legal and planning framework in which those plans are placed as well as management and awareness strategies required to deal with those INNS, parasites and diseases that threaten the biodiversity and economies of Scotland’s rivers and lochs. In addition to disseminating information from national campaigns such as “Be Plant Wise”, “Check Clean Dry” and producing awareness materials on the threat of American Signal Crayfish in conjunction with SNH, RAFTS and its member Trusts have also worked on a wide range of over 40 local awareness events and activities.

Capacity building is an integral component of all the projects being implemented under the auspices of the Programme and includes training programmes for Trust staff and the Trusts’ networks of volunteers. Training ranges from formal courses to meet licensing requirements to more informal training in the identification, survey, monitoring and management of INNS particularly riparian and aquatic plants and American Signal Crayfish.

 

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