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Norway’s Invasive Notification

Posted: June 23, 2011, 1 p.m., EDT

As an ever-growing number of countries take steps to control invasive alien species, Norway has joined the list with a World Trade Organization Notification (G/SPS/N/NOR/30) aimed at preventing the import and release of organisms “that have or may have adverse impacts on biological or landscape diversity.” The objective and rationale as stated in the notification’s three draft regulations is “related to import and release of alien organisms.”

Such organisms are classified under four headings:

List I: Organisms for which no permit is required for import for specific purposes. This list applies only to the import of organisms that are not to be released to the environment and that present a minimum risk of escape.

The Louisiana red swamp crayfish, or red lobster (Procambarus clarkii/////ITAL/////) is one of the non-European species considered to be a serious threat to native (i.e. Norwegian) populations.
The Louisiana red swamp crayfish, or red lobster (Procambarus clarkii) is one of the non-European species considered to be a serious threat to native (i.e. Norwegian) populations.
Photo by John Dawes
Releases of roach can only occur within the natural range of the species in Norway and only under permit.
Releases of roach can only occur within the natural range of the species in Norway and only under permit.
Photo by John Dawes
List II: Organisms whose import is prohibited. This list applies to the import of “living and viable” organisms. None of the species on the list may be offered for sale or distributed.
List III: Organisms whose release is prohibited. As with List II, List III applies to “living and viable” organisms that may not be offered for sale or distributed.

List IV: Organisms for which no permit is required for release.

The most relevant species associated with the ornamental aquatic industry all appear in Lists II and III. Of particular interest is the Louisiana red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii), also commonly referred to as the red lobster. It, as well as all its relatives within the family Astacidae, including the Mexican dwarf orange crayfish (Cambarellus patzcuarensis), are prohibited. Among the fish, pond species such as the common minnow (Phoxinus phoxinus), the roach (Rutilus rutilus), the rudd (Scardinius erythrophthalmus) and the tench (Tinca tinca) are also prohibited.

Three of these species, the common minnow, the rudd and the roach, are actually native to Norway, although FishBase.com rates the natural distribution of the rudd in the country as “questionable.” Irrespective of this, since their distribution is restricted to certain parts of the country, their release is “prohibited outside the natural range,” while their release within the natural distribution range requires a permit. The same goes for the tench, which was introduced into Norway in 1820 from the Netherlands and is now well established in the country, to the extent that it is being regarded like the other three, with imports and releases being banned.

On the aquatic plant front, the Canadian pondweed (Elodea canadensis) and the Western or Nuttall’s pondweed (C. nuttalii) don’t appear in List II (import), though, as expected, they feature in List III (release).

Any exporters intending to send shipments to Norway would be well advised to check the lists, as well as consult their clients and Norwegian authorities in advance of dispatching any consignments.

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