The Water Forum recently commissioned a scoping study to provide strategic guidance on the management of Invasive Alien Species (IAS) in Ireland. The research aimed to provide insight into how IAS establishment and spread might be restricted and what actions are required to improve the management of established IAS.
The report recommends changes in governance and policy, that has the potential to radically improve IAS management on the island of Ireland and to significantly reduce the forecasted economic costs of treating established IAS on the island.
The report states that many of the most problematic IAS have been introduced to Ireland in the past 20 years and that a significant number of high impact IAS are predicted to arrive in Ireland in the next 10 years resulting in devastating environmental consequences.
Recommendations highlights the need for national IAS legislation coming into force in 2021, which must be implemented, enforced and resourced, preferably by one responsible agency. A key challenge to IAS management is fragmented and uncoordinated action. The research recommends the establishment of a single lead division with overall responsibility for IAS management who would oversee an All-island Strategy for IAS Management and a National Biosecurity Programme.
There is also a need to develop education and awareness programmes with key messages relating to IAS management and the implementation of good biosecurity practice. A range of training courses dedicated to specific stakeholders (Gov. agencies, garden centres, pet shops, retailers) should be delivered.