23 March 2018
The Department of the Environment, Jersey Water and the Jersey Fresh Water Angling Association are backing a national campaign to raise awareness of the damage to local wildlife from invasive species.
In the past five years the problem of alien species affecting Jersey has increased substantially. In particular, many plants, are causing extensive harm.
It's among the issues being discussed at the British Irish Council Environment meeting in Dublin this week which Jersey is attending. Member countries, including Jersey, are raising awareness of the risks invasive species pose, and the problems aquatic plants in particular, can cause to our environment.
A British body – the Non-Native Species Secretariat reports on progress and monitor trends in non-native species data. It warns that the number of non-native 'invasive' species in the wild is increasing, with the potential for serious long-term ecological implications for local biodiversity.
Check, clean, dry
It's launched a national campaign called 'Check, Clean and Dry' which aims to raise awareness of the harm that can be caused when fish and pond plants are moved from one body of water to another – for example, from a domestic aquarium to a local pond or reservoir, or between two ponds on uncleaned wellington boots.
'Check, Clean and Dry' asks everyone to ensure that all equipment is cleaned between use, and especially when used between different bodies of water to reduce the threat of accidental introduction to a new area.
Three non-native species, Red-eared slider terrapins, New Zealand pigmy-weed and Water fern have been found in local waters and according to the Department of the Environment, they pose three main risks:
- Introducing disease to native wildlife
- Uncontrolled growth can block water flow in local ponds and reservoirs
- Changing habitats can endanger native species
Minister for the Environment, Deputy Steven Luce said "Despite our size, Jersey is highly prized for its rich and diverse habitats and recognised as home to a number of internationally important species and habitats. We've made a commitment to conserve and enhance it so we can hand it on to future generations intact. Invasive non-native species are a growing threat and I urge people to be aware of what they can do to help limit the risk by supporting this campaign."
Mark Bowden from Jersey Water said "Maintaining Jersey's environment and the supply of clean, fresh water is paramount. We invite the public as guests on to our recreational reservoir sites and encourage all visitors to ensure that they do not bring anything to the land and the water which they will leave behind, including litter and unwanted pets and plants."
Chairman of the Jersey Freshwater Angling Association, Scott Roberts said "We are pleased to support this initiative as many of our members fish in waters other than in Jersey, and are very responsible when it comes to ensuring there is no contaminated equipment or material taken out of, or brought back into our island's waters."
Invasive non-native species are plants, animals or other organisms which are either purposefully or accidently introduced or otherwise spread outside their natural habitats, and which have affected native biodiversity in almost every ecosystem type on earth.
Invasive species are plants, animals, pathogens and other organisms that can cause economic or environmental harm, or adversely affect health. In particular they have a negative impact on biodiversity, through competition, predation, or the transmission of pathogens, and through the disruption of local ecosystems and ecosystem functions.
The States Natural Environment team remit is wide and includes everything from managing much of the Island's public footpath network to saving endangered local species from extinction. The team carries out or co-ordinates most of Jersey's environmental management and research services. It works closely with individuals, organisations and States teams to ensure that Jersey is meeting its local and international obligations, and that species, habitats, and sites are managed for the benefit of the Island.