What do you know about invasive alien species? Invasive alien species (IAS) are non-native species that can enter new ecosystems or habitats and cause an imbalance by preying on native species, outcompeting native species for food sources and habitat space. IAS negatively impacts animal, plant, and human health. Some are more aggressive than native species. An example of this is the lionfish, which has no natural predators and its numbers have increased. To protect local fisheries from this IAS, a series of campaigns to cull lionfish populations have been undertaken by Caribbean countries. There are other invasive species that have been noted in our policy brief,‘’ Invasive Species Threaten Livelihoods and Valuable Biodiversity in The Caribbean’’.
Management of IAS is important in the Caribbean as we depend on our Agriculture, Tourism, and Trade sectors for income. If IAS aren’t prevented or managed, there will be a loss of species and habitats which would impact important industries like Tourism. Caribbean islands depend on tourism as our eco-tourism market garner attention from visitors who come to see our unique ecosystems and species. One of our most important local species is the hawksbill leatherback turtle, which is critically endangered due to IAS predation. Baby turtles are the target of IAS like the small Indian mongoose, that predates on turtle hatchlings. A sustainable trust fund would aid in preventing IAS. Read more about this in our policy brief, ‘’A Sustainable Trust Fund for Managing Invasive Alien Species in the Caribbean’’.
Presently, the Declare, Deposit or Pay Campaign, which is being implemented under the Preventing the Costs of Invasive Alien Species (IAS) in Barbados and the OECS Project, will focus on air and sea ports in Barbados and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). This six-month pilot campaign is being implemented at air and seaports. For a full listing of our tagged marine invasive species, check out our policy brief, ‘’Prevention and Management of Marine Invasive Alien Species in the Caribbean’’.
The aim of the Declare, Deposit or Pay campaign is to safeguard Caribbean biodiversity and protect people and their livelihoods from invasive species by creating an awareness and understanding of IAS and the consequences of deliberately or unintentionally transporting them, thereby gaining the support of travellers in implementing good practices. This means leaving at home any item that poses a biosecurity risk and declaring such items before boarding planes or cruise ships. The items would then be taken to a secure location for inspection and the data collected would then aid inspectors in predicting IAS patterns and help prevention of future IAS incursions. Biosecurity is an important element of prevention, read more about this from our policy brief, ‘’ Improving Biosecurity will Safeguard Our Health, Economy, and Irreplaceable Biodiversity’’.
Read more from our sources below!
Caribbean Invasives – Declare, Deposit or Pay Campaign
Policy Brief – Invasive Species Threaten Livelihoods and Valuable Biodiversity in The Caribbean
Policy Brief – Improving Biosecurity will Safeguard Our Health, Economy, and Irreplaceable Biodiversity
Policy Brief – A Sustainable Trust Fund for Managing Invasive Alien Species in the Caribbean
Policy Brief – Prevention and Management of Marine invasive Alien Species in the Caribbean