The Government warns of the "triple threat" of invasive species in Spain

The Government warns of the "triple threat" of invasive species in Spain

The Government urges to deepen in the control and eradication of the invasive alien species, whose presence in Spain supposes a "triple threat", from the point of view of loss of biodiversity, socioeconomic impact and damages to health.

This was highlighted today by the general director of Biodiversity and Environmental Quality of the Ministry for the Ecological Transition (Miteco), Francisco Javier Cachón, in the official presentation of Life Invasaqua, a project funded by the European Union to improve the control of exotic species aquatic invaders in the Iberian Peninsula.

Cachón recalled that the economic losses associated with species such as zebra mussels exceed 1,600 million euros and that the fight against the camalote or hyacinth of water in the Guadiana River has involved investments of around 40 million euros since 2004.

The head of the Ministry has stressed that "when we talk about biodiversity loss we do not give it the importance it has, citizens are not yet aware that we are playing our own presence on the planet."

For that reason, he has referred to the importance of the Life Invasaqua project having as a "basic objective" to publicize the problem "without alarmisms" and has demanded the participation of society "in which the role of the Efe Agency is very relevant".

In this sense, the president of Efe, Fernando Garea, has expressed the commitment of the agency with environmental information, which "is part of our principles and our strategy", and has ensured that "we are going to do journalism involving all departments to be useful to society. "

The Life Invasaqua project, coordinated by the University of Murcia and involving the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the National Museum of Natural Sciences (MNCN), the Iberian Society of Ichthyology (Sibic), the AssociaÇao Portuguesa de EducaÇao Ambiental (Aspea), the universities of Santiago de Compostela, Navarra and Évora (Portugal) and the Efe Agency, will develop communication and training actions on aquatic invasive species over five years.

The European Union has recognized some 12,000 exotic species, of which 15 percent are invasive, and the budget for their management is around 12,500 million euros per year.

In the Iberian Peninsula, one of the hot spots of bioinvasion on a global scale, aquatic ecosystems harbor nearly 200 invasive alien species (IAS), between fauna and flora, and each year this number increases at the rate of two or three new species.

However, there is a social ignorance about the problem, its environmental and economic consequences and the benefits of its control or eradication, as well as rejection by some sectors of the measures to be adopted.

Francisco José Oliva, responsible for the coordination of the project, has put in value the "creation of synergies" that will generate Life Invasaqua to "create a platform that manages to change the social perception" on the IEE.

"We are convinced that if we improve the formation of key groups and develop the necessary tools we will reduce this problem and that the project will be a turning point, a before and after the start of the solution", he underlined.

On the other hand, María Jesús Palacios, of the Department of Environment of the Junta de Extremadura and coordinator of the Life Invasep project, recalled that the problem of invasive alien species is "as old as humanity itself, although it began to reflect about him from the twentieth century. "

Palacios thanked Life Invasaqua for "collecting the witness" of Life Invasep in the solution of a problem that "increases exponentially", since it is estimated that the number of IAS has grown 76 percent in 50 years and the expense in its management between 1997 and 2007 it rose to 50 million euros in Spain.

The director of EFEverde, Arturo Larena, has conducted the event, in which the Vice Chancellor of Internationalization of the University of Murcia, María Senena Corbalán, and the technician of the General Subdirectorate of Biodiversity and Natural Environment of the Ministry for the Transition have also spoken. Ecological Felipe Morcillo.


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