The Commission has proposed today a new Regulation in order to prevent and manage the rapidly growing threat of invasive species. As a native from the Mediterranean, I am deeply concerned by the increasing number of reports about new sea species appearing in the East Mediterranean. Species like the Lagocephalus fish, for instance, are brought to the Mediterranean, through the Suez Canal. Invasive alien species are a major cause of biodiversity damages in the EU. Therefore, I welcome the timely initiative on invasive alien species of my colleague Commissioner Potočnik.
The issue is a particularly crucial one for aquaculture. Aquaculture has been pioneering in this field as a Regulation is already in place and will be maintained. The sector should remain unaffected by the new legislation. Specific provisions will anyhow ensure that, in case commercially relevant species would end up on an EU blacklist, those measures would only be implemented gradually, ensuring an appropriate timing for selling existing stocks and allowing business re-orientation.
The new legislation proposal also ensures that action plans towards invasive alien species remain balanced between conservation purposes and competitiveness concerns. Therefore, our Member States will keep real margins to determine the appropriate national measures, such as regarding ballast waters, in close coordination with all affected sectors of the industry (aquaculture, farming, shipping, tourism …).