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Safety first: For conservation, people and the economy

"Invasive alien species: Enhancing cross-border cooperation in Nutria management"
European Parliament, 10 April 2018

"Invasive alien species are one of main causes of biodiversity loss and represent a cross-border challenge" stated Stefan Leiner (European Commission) during an event on invasive alien species. The conference "Invasive Alien Species: Enhancing cross-border cooperation in Nutria management" was the occasion for water authority representatives, farmers and hunters to present their experiences and strategic approaches, and to show how cross-border cooperation between relevant stakeholders is crucial to manage the growing Nutria population in Europe.

The conference was hosted by MEP Annie Schreijer-Pierik and MEP Karl-Heinz Florenz on 10 April 2018 at the European Parliament and organised by FACE, in coordination with the Dutch Water Authorities. It focused on the example from the northern Dutch-German border region. Nutria are on the EU list for invasive alien species, as they are a serious threat to biodiversity. They can create water safety problems and negatively impact agricultural yields in many parts of the EU.

Panellists from both regions explained that there is a clear need to work across borders with relevant stakeholders including farmers and hunters as part of the solution and to further innovate best practice approaches to managing Nutria. The participants urged the European Commission to take the problem very seriously and to promote collaborative cross-border. All participants are looking forward to spreading existing best practice approaches to other regions and countries.

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Stefan Leiner, Head of Unit Biodiversity (DG Environment), outlined the position of the European Commission regarding the Nutria, stating that "The EU IAS Regulation sets the framework for concerted action at the EU level in relation to the IAS of Union concern, including the Nutria. The Nutria is not only a problem for biodiversity, but also creates huge economic costs. The EU Regulation is aimed to prevent such invasions in the future and adds value to Member States efforts in managing already widely spread species such as the Nutria. The cooperation across the German/Netherlands border on the management of Nutria sets a very good example for cross-border cooperation".

MEP Annie Schreijer-Pierik, Secretary General of the European Parliament Intergroup on "Biodiversity, Hunting, Countryside" chaired the meeting and underlined that “Nutria and Muskrat do not stop at the border. The Netherlands is doing their best to manage them, but they can easily come in across borders. This way, they continue to pose a problem for our infrastructure. This can’t continue! We need to manage these invasive alien species across borders.”

Stefan Kuks, Chairman of Water Authority Vechtstromen in the Netherlands, explained the risks to which the Netherlands are exposed because of the exponential growth of the Nutria population in recent years, a real threat to water safety, ditches and key infrastructure, and also to biodiversity: "The time has come the tackle the problem of Nutria in the North-East of the Netherlands in collaboration with the authorities of the German Federal State of Lower Saxony. We agreed that in the specific area, along the border between our two countries, we will investigate and implement the best way to promote transnational cooperation between the Netherlands and Germany to ensure the best possible control measures in respect of the Nutria. Today, I would like to call upon the European Commission to support us in this collaborative venture”.

Bron: FACE | 13-04-2018

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