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Measures and management challenges

According to the Invasive Alien Species (IAS) EU Regulation (1143/2014/EU), all Member States should implement strategic plans and measures to combat the adverse effects of IAS. These should include prevention measures, early detection and rapid eradication, as well as management measures. 

Prevention measures are pathway oriented and aim at preventing the intentional or unintentional introduction. One example is ballast water management (under the Ballast Water Management Convention), where the ballast water of ships has to be treated or filtered, or exchanged in the open sea before entering the freshwater ecosystems to avoid introduction of IAS e.g. Chinese mitten crab. To avoid further spread of invasive plants between unconnected water bodies by e.g. water sport equipment (such as boats and trailers), public awareness raising, also for angling, hunting or zoos is carried out. Other measures are reducing nutrients for plant reduction or physical barriers.

Basis for early detection and rapid eradication measures are surveillance monitoring to detect the presence of IAS by e.g. establishing an early detection network, citizen science initiatives, eDNA monitoring or remote sensing techniques to detect invasive floating plants. Cutting or mowing or hand weeding of submerged plants, and trapping, hunting and fishing for fish and crustacean are also measures to eradicate IAS.

Management measures aim at minimizing the harm IAS cause. Examples are the commercial use of the Chinese mitten crap for food consumption, biological control (manipulation) of the food web of an ecosystem or the use of herbicides to control massive invasive plant growth.    

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