There are many techniques being used worldwide to attempt to control the spread of invasive species, including preventative, chemical, biological and legislative methods, as well as education and research.
One of the biggest obstacles with invasive species control is lack of research, and there are large gaps in scientific knowledge. The government in the UK has been researching invasive species for many years in an attempt to control their impacts and investigate strategic methods of eradication. One of the most important methods for controlling invasive species is to raise awareness and educate the public to help them understand the risks involved. This may be achieved by promotion from key organisations and industries to their stakeholders and members. As more members of the public become aware of the harmful effects of invasive species, accidental introductions will hopefully be reduced.
There are many methods already in place to prevent the further spread of invasive species, although they may not be adequate. It is recommended that all imports are inspected to detect non-native species, and this is thought to be one of the most effective approaches to blocking this pathway for invasive species. To reduce the translocation of non-native species through shipping, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) adopted the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments in 2004, which provides two performance standards for the discharge of ballast water. The two standards ensure that appropriate volumes of ballast water are exchanged during the ships’ journey and that the water is treated to remove any organisms.
In the UK, the Great Britain Non-native Species Secretariat (GBNNSS) was formed, which developed a strategy for controlling invasive species. They aim to create public awareness, promote a shared sense of responsibility and provide a national framework for mitigating, controlling and eradicating UK invasive non-native species. The IUCN Species Survival Commission’s (SSC) Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) has developed the Global Invasive Species Database (GISD), which aims to increase awareness of and promote prevention and management techniques for invasive non-native species. The organisation reviewed their strategy after five years to assess its success and develop new ideas. There are also many action groups throughout the UK which are working towards eradicating damaging invasive species from their area. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is thought to be the most effective form of controlling invasive species. It is used worldwide to prevent the negative effects of invasive species, and usually involves a combination of a few recognised management techniques.
Although many countries involved in international trade have legislation in place to prevent the transport of invasive species into their country, such measures are inadequate. It has been recommended that all countries involved in international trade should attempt to develop satisfactory legal frameworks to protect their native biodiversity from invasive species introductions. There is legislation already in place including the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which is a global agreement covering all aspects of biodiversity and highlighting its importance. Collaboration between international stakeholders is extremely important to address this international problem and ensure it does not destroy global biodiversity.