Report of the Working Group on Introduction of Non-Indigenous Marine Organisms
On the land we have become so accustomed to the benefits obtained from the introduction and domestication of introduced animals, and the cultivation of non-indigenous plants, that we take them for granted and tend to forget their origin. By contrast, the associated pests and diseases that may be introduced with them continue to receive considerable publicity and present many intractable problems. Expensive all-out eradication campaigns have been mounted to remove dangerous pests, and in many countries more or less permanent control measures have to be maintained to contain the populations of introduced animals or plants which have spread like wildfire in a new environment.
In the marine environment there are special difficulties. National boundaries have no significance as barriers to containment except in the case of island countries. Animals or plants once introduced can rarely if ever be eradicated. Even to observe the spread and multiplication of an introduced species is likely to present special problems, while so little is known about diseases and pests that it may be extremely difficult to determine whether they are present or not in introduced material.
In these circumstances, despite the undoubted benefits obtained in some cases from introduced species, very careful consideration needs to be given to all new proposals, and sensible guidelines need to be developed which must be soundly based on past experience. To assist in this task the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea set up the Working Party whose Report is now offered for wider consideration. I believe that it merits careful attention. If the suggested Code of Practice recommended were adopted in all cases, without doubt the risk of adverse consequences following an introduction would be greatly reduced. The task of the Working Party was greatly assisted by two efficient Secretaries who showed admirable persistence and penetration in obtaining information from the member countries of ICES and from the USA which cooperated in this study.