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European Invasive Campaigns Receive Trade Support
By John Dawes 

A meeting held in The Netherlands on February 23 and attended by representatives from the Dutch government, trade organizations and agencies involved in the maintenance of Dutch waterways and reserves, resulted in an agreement to address the potential invasive risks posed by several aquarium and pond plant species. The ornamental aquatic industry was represented by the Dutch pet organization, Dibevo, which, as a member of Ornamental Fish International (OFI), also signalled OFI’s support for the agreement.

Parrot’s feather
The Dutch agreement aims to prevent the sale, production and import of six species, including parrot’s feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum).
Photo by John Dawes
Seen by our sector as an example of the industry being regarded as part of the solution, rather than the problem, the agreement marks an important step forward in the long, ongoing process of growing collaboration between the European trade organizations and governments.

The industry will also support the Dutch government’s campaign to educate the public regarding the non-release of alien species--both animal and plant--into the natural environment.

The aims of the agreement are to prevent import, production and sale of six aquatic plant species, and to alert the public regarding invasiveness by issuing warning notices (on plant labels) not to release another seven named species into the environment.

The six species listed under the highest risk category are: Crassula helmsii (still sometimes labelled as Tillaea recurva), Hydrilla verticillata, Hydrocotyle ranunculoides (which is already on the Dutch prohibited species list), Ludwigia grandiflora, L. peploides and Myriophyllum aquaticum.

The signatories also agreed to sell or promote the sale of the following plants with a warning on the label not to allow the “escape” of any of these species into any natural waters in The Netherlands: Azolla sp., Cabomba carolineatus (although I think the species referred to is C. caroliniana), Egeria densa, Myriophyllum heterophyllum, Pistia stratiotes and Salvinia molesta.

Giant salvinia
Giant salvinia (Salvinia molesta) will be sold with a health warning from now on in the Netherlands. Photo by John Dawes
The day after the Dutch agreement was signed, the U.K. launched a similar campaign backed up by a dedicated website which includes a video presented by popular U.K. gardening broadcaster/presenter, Charlie Dimmock, giving sound, basic advice on the dangers of potentially invasive plants, how to prevent their spread and on their safe disposal.

There are also several useful links, all provided by the Great Britain Non-native Species Secretariat (NNSS). One leads to a list of five invasive plants (all of them on the Dutch list), plus a guide to how to obtain advice on recommended alternative choices, including requesting assistance from pond plant retailers and the U.K.’s aquatic industry organization, Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA).

A second link offers tips on how to compost aquatic plants safely, how to manage a pond, how to deal with invasives and how to dispose of them, while another provides advice on how to stop the spread of invasive pond plants and includes further links to “websites where you can find out how you can help in your area.” <HOME>

Note: I am grateful to Alex Ploeg and Roberto Hansen of the OFI Secretariat for alerting me to the Dutch meeting referred to in the opening paragraph.

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European Invasive Campaigns Receive Trade Support

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