Invasive Species Threats in the Caribbean Region report to the nature conservancy prepared by

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Invasive Species Threats in the Caribbean Region
report to the nature conservancy

prepared by

Moses Kairo and Bibi Ali


Caribbean and Latin American Regional Centre

Gordon Street, Curepe

Trinidad & Tobago

West Indies

Oliver Cheesman, Karen Haysom and Sean Murphy

CABI Bioscience

UK Centre (Egham)

Bakeham Lane, Egham

Surrey, TW20 9TY

United Kingdom


1 Executive Summary 5

2 Introduction 6

2.1 Invasive Species: key issues and threats 6

2.1.1 Definitions 6

2.1.2 Impacts of invasive species 6

2.1.3 A growing problem 7

2.1.4 Dealing with invasive species 7

2.2 Invasive Species and Islands 8

2.3 Invasive Species and the Caribbean 8

2.4 Prospects for Invasive Species Management in the Caribbean 9

2.5 The complexity of the Caribbean as a geopolitical region 11

3 Current Project 13

4 MethodS 14

4.1 Defining the Caribbean 14

4.2 Information collation and synthesis 14

4.2.1 List of contacts 14

4.2.2 Questionnaire and emails 15

4.2.3 Electronic workshop 15

4.2.4 Literature search 16

4.2.5 Direct communication 16

4.3 Databases 16

4.3.1 Invasive Species Database 16

4.3.2 Contacts Database 17

5 Results 18

5.1 Invasive species database 18

5.1.1 Invasive species in different ecosystems 20

5.1.2 Organism types 20

5.1.3 Major invasive species in the Caribbean 21

5.2 Responses to questionnaire 23

5.3 Results of the electronic workshop 23

5.4 List of active projects in Invasive Species Management 24

5.5 Legislative and regulatory frameworks invasive species 29

5.5.1 General status 29

5.5.2 Animals (Diseases & Importation) Act 29

5.5.3 Importation of Fish (Importation) Act 29

5.5.4 Plant Protection Act 29

5.5.5 Noxious Weed Act 33

5.5.6 Other legislation 33

5.5.7 Analysis of gaps in current legislation re impact of invasive species 33

6 Discussion 34

6.1 Building management capacity 34

6.2 Building research capacity 35

6.3 Promote national and regional cooperation and information sharing 36

6.4 Compile national lists of: biota, identified invasive species, projects on invasive species 37

6.5 Institute a system of environmental risk analysis 38

6.6 Build public awareness and engagement 38

6.7 Prepare national strategies and plans 39

6.8 Build invasive alien species issues into national and regional change initiatives 40

7 Recommendations 41

8 References 43


10 Annexes 46

10.1 Appendix 1. Regional and extraregional institutions, and programmes involved in some aspect of invasive species in the Caribbean 46

10.2 Appendix 2. Islands targeted in this report 52

10.3 Appendix 3 Project Questionnaire 53

10.4 Appendix 4 Invitation to electronic workshop 56

10.5 Appendix 5. Workshop objectives and operation 59

10.6 Appendix 6 Workshop resource materials 62

10.6.1 Appendix 6a. KEY ISSUES AND CHALLENGES 63


10.7 Appendix 7. Feedback to electronic workshop 76

10.8 Appendix 8 A list of species reported exotic, naturalized or naturalized and invasive in the Caribbean. 88

1Executive Summary

The project reported here represents the first concerted attempt to collate and synthesise information on threats posed by invasive species in the insular Caribbean.

The synthesis was based on direct interaction and input from a range of stakeholders throughout the region. With few exceptions such as Cuba, and the Netherlands Antilles, it is anticipated that views expressed are largely representative of the regional status of invasive species issues.
A database comprising a range of information on of invasive species was developed. The database can be queried using various search parameters. At present it contains information on 552 species. The information included varies from species and is reflective of the status of knowledge. The database is not complete and there is much additional data/gaps to be filled.
The status of individual species in all broad community types (marine, freshwater and terrestrial) varies between islands but an attempt was made to identify the most serious threats at the regional level. It should be noted however, that priority species will vary from island to island and additional information will be required before completing the prioritization process
A database with contact details and areas of specialization for more than 250 people interested in invasive species issues in the Caribbean was compiled.
Current governmental regulations with relevance to invasive species were reviewed. Generally, specific legislation dealing with invasive species within the Caribbean is lacking. Much of what is available is outdated and does not satisfy agreed-upon international conventions and treaties.
Notwithstanding the efforts to update some legislation by certain countries, the risk, however, is that piecemeal updating of legislation will not lead to true harmonisation but will instead mean that the existing patchwork legal framework is simply replaced by a more modern patchwork legal framework in the Caribbean region.
The present effort has initiated a process of collation of species information into a database. This needs to be built further, gaps in present information filled for each island.
Priority areas which require action are identified. This includes development of national and regional policies and strategies, specific action plans to deal with present and potential problems, framework for exchange of information, capacity building etc.

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