29 April 2019: Stop Arctic Aliens

Are you travelling to the Arctic? Make sure that you don’t accidentally bring any alien species with you! (No, we are not talking about little green men here, but new species that are not normally found in the Arctic). Alien species can disrupt the ecosystem, offsetting the natural balance between the local species. This can, of course, be a problem everywhere, but the Arctic is particularly vulnerable due to the low species diversity found here. With the increase in tourism the Arctic is experiencing, there is also an increase in the risk of accidentally introducing new species. Add in the factor of climate change, and there is an even bigger risk that alien species will not only settle here, but also thrive and, eventually, even out-compete the endemic species.

Therefore, before you leave your home to travel to the Arctic, make sure that you:

  • Brush, hoover and wash your bags, clothes, shoes and other equipment you are bringing with you
  • Disinfect fishing equipment

The Arctic Invasive Alien Species (ARIAS) Strategy and Action Plan (CAFF and PAME 2017) was adopted at the Arctic Council Ministerial meeting in Alaska in 2017. This plan includes priority actions that the Arctic Council and its partners are encouraged to take with regards to invasive alien species, with the three main categories being “Inspire urgent and effective action”, “Improve the knowledge base for well-informed decision making” and “Undertake prevention and early detection/rapid response initiatives”.

One of the follow-ups to this is the film below, made by The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) and the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MMM). You can read more about the project at www.stoparcticaliens.com.

Picture source: Screenshot from the YouTube film.

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