Invasive species concern Vietnamese agencies

June 16, 2017 - 09:00

Several invasive alien species have entered Việt Nam, impacting the local environment and biodiversity, and triggering concern among the authorised agencies.

Farmers in the northern province of Điện Biên catch ốc bươu vàng – golden apple snails, one of the invasive species that harm crops in Việt Nam. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyễn Viết Tôn
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Several invasive alien species have entered Việt Nam, impacting the local environment and biodiversity and triggering concern among authorised agencies.
Mai Văn Trịnh, director of the Institute for Agricultural Environment, said 25 invasive alien species have been reported in Việt Nam, including four microorganism species, five invertebrate animal species, six fish species, two amphibian and reptile species, one bird species and seven plant species.
Meanwhile, 15 alien species with risks of invasion have also appeared in the country, such as Procambarus clarkii and Piaractus brachypomus.
He said that invasive alien species with high adaptability often overpopulate a habitat or harm local creatures, leading to an ecological imbalance. The invasion of alien species may influence the growth of other species and even lead to the extinction of other creatures.
Invasive alien species can enter a new environment by natural channels, such as by following the wind, water current or migratory animals. However, it mostly occurs via human activities.

With the development of transport and trade activities, humans have unintentionally or intentionally carried invasive alien species, he said.
Trịnh added that many species had been brought to the country for economic, scientific or entertainment purposes. However, they have caused serious impacts on the environment due to lax control.
To control invasive alien species and those with risks of invasion, State agencies have issued regulations stipulating punishments for releasing or farming of invasive alien species, including a Government decree last November.
Trịnh said Việt Nam should take appropriate measures to manage and prevent the species based on the characteristics of each alien species, and local, natural and socio-economic conditions.
He suggested that agencies refer to the world’s common principles of managing invasive alien species, which include six steps: Specifying the appearance area and characteristics of the species and their possible impacts on the environment; devising suitable management and environmental recovery measures; making programmes and plans to carry out the management measures; supervising management activities; supervising the outcomes of the measures taken and reviewing the plans implemented.
Authorised bodies need to devise measures to control the entrance of those species that are imported to produce food, as pets or to increase biodiversity. The agencies must foresee the creatures’ possible impacts on Việt Nam’s environment before licensing the import.
Trịnh also underscored the necessity of stepping up communications to raise public awareness about the risks of invasive alien species. — VNS