Marine Invasive Non-native Species Guidance

Non-native species (sometimes referred to as alien species) are those that have been introduced, either intentionally or unintentionally, outside of their natural range.

Non-native invasive species in the marine environment

Invasive non-native species (INNS) are those that pose considerable threats to the marine environment. They can adversely impact marine habitats and species by smothering and outcompeting native species. They can also have detrimental economic impacts on the aquaculture industry as well as recreational activities such as boating, fishing and other water-based leisure pursuits.

Many aquatic species spread by hitching rides on the hulls of boats or on equipment, and treatments to control hull fouling can be very costly. It is important to follow the below guidelines to minimise their spread.

The Environment, Marine and Fisheries group (EMFG) monitor the introduction and spread of INNS in the marine environment through regular marine monitoring programmes. This data is available on the Marine Mapviewer.

How you can help

Inspect all equipment that has been in a waterbody (boats, trailers, engines, outboards, dredgers, weed cutting or harvesting boats, cruisers or even clothing) or terrestrial site for attached vegetation, contaminated soil or obvious animal life before moving to another waterway, catchment or site

Remove any adhering plant, soil or animal material from your equipment for disposal before relocating to another watercourse, section of waterway or site. Ensure that all water is drained from your boat and equipment before transportation to another site and all soil is removed from machinery, as this may contain seed or plant fragments

Clean all equipment with a power hose away from the waterbody. Use hot water (>60 degrees centigrade) where possible

Dispose of all plant and animal material in bags or containers for disposal in bins. Do not throw them back into the water or leave them lying at the water’s edge

Report and take photos of species you think may be an INNS on the Invasive Species Northern Ireland website in the ‘Report a Sighting' section, or using the IRecord app. You can also report water pollution incidents to Environmental Crime: 0800 807 060. A free guide is to download below to help with identification and recording of marine INNS:

Useful links

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