Conclusions of the EPPO/Council of Europe Workshop on Eichhornia crassipes (Mérida, ES, 2008-06-02/04)
Eichhornia crassipes is a floating aquatic plant originating from South America sold for ornamental purposes. The plant is recognized as one of the most invasive alien plants in the world. It has huge detrimental economic impacts: it is a threat to agriculture, plant health, the environment, public safety, recreation activities, water quality and quantity, and human health.
The workshop on Eichhornia crassipes gathered 40 participants from Czech Republic, Croatia, Estonia, France, Germany, Morocco, the Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, and Zambia. More than 15 papers and posters were presented during the Workshop on the biology, distribution, pathways, and impacts of the plant. Emphasis was given to management measures taken against E. crassipes in Africa (South Africa, Zambia) and in the EPPO region. In Spain, the removal of nearly 200 000 tons of the plant from the Guadiana River (along 75 km) cost 14 680 000 euros from 2005 to 2008. In Portugal, the management actions carried out by the Municipality of Agueda cost 278 000 euros from December 2006 to May 2008.
During this Workshop, a Pest Risk Analysis was performed and it concluded that the species has the potential to establish and cause detrimental effects in the whole Mediterranean Basin. It was concluded that E. crassipes should be proposed for regulation as a quarantine pest (EPPO A2 List) in 2008, and that an EPPO Standard on a National Regulatory Control System should be prepared.
Additionally, the Council of Europe will publish a recommendation to invite its Member Countries:
- to prohibit the sale, movement, possession and planting of the plant,
- to monitor the species and share information with other countries, and
- to draft a national action plan to manage the plant.