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New regulations on invasive non-native species come into force

On the 14th July the European Commission adopted the first EU list of invasive alien species, requiring dedicated action across the Union.  

Through the publication of Implementing Regulation 2016/1141, the EU Invasive Alien Species Regulation 1143/2014 will now apply to an initial list of 37 species.

The aim of this new regime is to prevent or manage the introduction, or spread, of invasive non-native species across the European Union. Member States are now required to put in place restrictions on commercial keeping, importing, selling, and the intentional breeding or release of these plants and animals. Special provisions are included to deal with the specific needs of pet owners, traders, breeders and other stakeholders.

As a result of this listing, measures are now required to be put in place for early detection and rapid eradication of these species, and to manage those species that are already widely spread in the territory of some Member States.  It is up to the Member States to select the measures appropriate to the local conditions and management action plans will be developed for each species.  

Whilst these provisions may not directly affect the recreational boating sector, the Regulations also require that Member States take all necessary steps to prevent the unintentional introduction or spread including, where applicable, by gross negligence, of species on this list.  A comprehensive analysis of the pathways of unintentional introduction and spread of those species will need to be completed, and priority pathways identified. 

Recreational boating clubs, marinas or training centres may have these plants or animals on their land, and while the Regulations do not require these species to be removed or eradicated, it could be an offence to allow them to spread to other land or enter the wild.

Member States have agreed on a rolling cycle of consideration of additional species to be added to the EU list. As a consequence the Commission, in February 2016, also put forward a number of additional species for consideration. However, these proposals are at a very early stage and no decisions will be made before full consideration and engagement with stakeholders, and any listings will not come into effect until at least 2017.  Species could also be removed from the list.

The European Boating Association represents the recreational boating sector on the European Commission Working Group on Invasive Alien Species and in addition, Member States are also able to gather feedback from stakeholders directly during the development of these lists.

Further information, including the list of invasive alien species of Union concern can be found on the European Commission website at