+353 1 450 8548 tdonovan@invas.ie

Below are two extracts written by keynote speaker Prof. Joe Caffrey from the Invasive Species Council of British Columbia’s (ISCBC) public forum and AGM program. He also gave several radio interviews (Joe begins at 29:50. The  interview starts at 26:45)





Biosecurity as it relates to invasive alien species (IAS) refers to those measures that aim to prevent the introduction and spread of harmful non-native species outside their natural range and to mitigate their impacts. The Convention on Biological Diversity, the EU Regulation on IAS and many other legislative drivers for IAS place the greatest emphasis on prevention of introduction and spread, as this is far more cost-effective and less environmentally damaging than long-term control. The most effective and least expensive measure to reduce new introductions and to slow or stop the spread of IAS is via the promotion and implementation of good biosecurity practice. To be effective, awareness of the issues around IAS must be created at all levels, from government and industry to individuals, and all must be encouraged to buy-in to the proposed solutions and to implement best biosecurity practice. Ireland is among the lead countries in Europe with respect to the development of biosecurity initiatives for industry and stakeholders. These initiatives include the creation of awareness regarding the threat posed by IAS and methods to prevent their introduction and spread, through: targeted (and accredited) training programs, the development of agreed biosecurity protocols for key stakeholder groups, the provision of tried-and-tested biosecurity processes and procedures for use at construction sites, the development of innovative biosecurity products to make the task of cleaning and disinfection more easy, among others. The need for a wide-scale roll-out of biosecurity is being acknowledged at government level and provision for this is being written into national documents, such as the Water Framework Directive (2017-2021) and the National Biodiversity Action Plan. The ultimate goal is that biosecurity will become instinctive and an integral part of one’s recreation or work.



Globalization of trade and travel has facilitated the spread of invasive alien species (IAS) across the earth. There are currently over 12,000 non-native species in the EU, 15% of which are invasive, and their numbers are growing rapidly. Prior to the introduction of the EU Regulation on IAS (1143/2014), which entered into force in January 2015, there was no EU framework for tackling IAS comprehensively and few IAS were addressed by EU legislation. In order to determine the issues that were deemed to be most important regarding IAS in Europe, and with a view to supporting policy makers as they prepared the EU legislation on IAS, the international conference was convened in Ireland (2013). This identified the top 20 IAS issues for Europe at that time and proposed measures to assist in the construction of this important legislation. The Regulation addresses IAS by imposing restrictions on ‘IAS of Union concern’, which is a list of 37 species that was ratified in August 2016 and will be updated via collective agreement on a regular basis. The restrictions will include preventative (surveillance, early detection and rapid eradication) and reactive (eradication, population control and/or containment) measures. Already in 2016, two species of ‘Union concern’ (coypu and curly waterweed) were identified in Ireland and rapid eradication measures were implemented. While the passing of this international legislation has addressed many of the complex issues relating to IAS management, considerable challenges (e.g. lack of dedicated funding) remain. These challenges, as well as progress with IAS issues since the implementation of the Regulation, will be discussed during the presentation.

Author BIO

Joe Caffrey worked has a Senior Research Scientist with Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) for 39 years, where he headed up the Invasive Species Section. Joe has project-led a number of multi-million euro national and international research projects and has been directly involved with the development of national and EU legislation relating to invasive species. He has written in excess of 80 peer reviewed scientific papers. In 2015 Joe joined INVAS Biosecurity as a Director, where he is continuing his work with invasive species.

Prof. Joe Caffrey, INVAS Biosecurity (Ireland)