Alien invasive species represent a serious problem internationally, affecting not only biological diversity in a negative way, but also e.g. human and animal health and production in agriculture and fisheries. There are already many example of direct detrimental and often irreversible effects of alien species on terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems, thus hindering the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. Furthermore, significant uncertainty is associated with risk assessment of problems caused by alien species invasions.
Article 8(h) of the Convention states that Contracting Parties to the Convention should, as far as possible and appropriate, prevent the introduction of, control or eradicate those alien species which threaten ecosystems, habitats or species.
At the second meeting of Conference of the Parties to the Convention, Parties expressed their concern of the serious threats of the invasive of alien species to marine and coastal biological diversity. Paragraph (xi) to the Annex I to decision II/10 states that:
" (...) because of the difficulties of complete containment, introduction of alien species, products of selective breeding, and living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology that may have adverse effects on the conservation and sustainable use of marine and coastal biodiversity should be responsibly conducted using the precautionary approach. "
While some eradication and control technology options exist for alien species and genotypes in the marine and coastal environment, the most effective strategy for limiting their effects on biological diversity is to prevent their introduction.
Invasive alien species is one of the programme elements of the elaborated programme of work on marine and coastal biological diversity adopted at theseventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties and contained in the Annex to decision VII/5
Programme element 5 on invasive alien species consists of:
: To prevent the introduction of invasive alien species into the marine and coastal environment, and to eradicate to the extent possible those invasive alien species that have already been introduced.
- Operational objective 5.1
To achieve better understanding of the pathways and the causes of the introduction of alien species and the impact of such introductions on biological diversity.
- Operational objective 5.2
To put in place mechanisms to control all pathways, including shipping, trade and mariculture, for potential alien invasive species in the marine and coastal environment.
- Operational objective 5.3
To maintain an incident list on introductions of alien species.