Focus on invasive species in the South Pacific

Updated: Nov 13, 2019


Invasive species coordinators and practitioners from around the Pacific have gathered at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in Apia, Samoa, for a five-week Invasive Species Programme Management Course that started on 22 October.


The course is being run by the Pacific Regional Invasive Species Management Support Service (PRISMSS), a regional mechanism which facilitates the scaling-up of on-the-ground invasive species management in the Pacific. PRISMSS and the Programme Management Course are established under the Global Environment Facility (GEF) 6 Project titled “Strengthening National and Regional Capacities to Reduce the Impact of Invasive Alien Species on globally significant biodiversity in the Pacific.” It is funded by GEF, implemented by UN Environment and executed by SPREP and partner countries Niue, Republic of Marshall Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu.


The objective of the course is to help Invasive species practitioners plan and prepare a programme of work which they can take back with them to help manage invasive species in their own countries.



During the workshop, invasive aquatic species were also discussed, presented by Mr. Anthony Talouli, the regional coordinator for the GEF-UNDP-IMO GloFouling Partnerships. The seminar introduced participants to the role of biofouling on all types of marine surfaces is a key pathway for the transfer of non-indigenous species. Mr. Talouli highlighted the important climate links with good biofouling management practices on ships. “Clean hulls can make an important contribution to reduced greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiencies of up to 10%”.

The presentation also discussed briefly the new and emerging technologies that are increasingly available to manage biofouling, such as in-water cleaning devices and new anti-fouling treatments.


SPREP’s Invasive Species adviser, Mr David Moverley, said, “Invasive species is a big issue in the Pacific – it is the highest driver of biodiversity loss in our islands, which makes this course so important to the work that is being undertaken to combat this issue.


Ms. Mimosa Bethel, Biosafety and Invasive Species Officer from Vanuatu, said, “We have a lot of invasive species back home in Vanuatu. As Biosafety and Invasive Species officer, I want to learn more about the management side of eradicating the twenty priority species".


Mr Vatapu’ia Maiava, Terrestrial Conservation Officer for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Samoa, said, “My office works a lot with invasive species control and it is a very important, but at times demanding, task. I hope to gain a better understanding on the management of invasive species so that I can better mold my work plan in a more informed and organised way”.


The management course will continue until 22 November 2019.



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