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in-focus

Authorities mull measures to check invasive alien species


A meeting to draft measures to contain and prevent invasion by alien species was held at the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry on Thursday after a new invasive worm from New Guinea was reported across the country.

Natural Resources and Environment Ministry spokesman Pralong Dumrongthai said the ministry would arrange a meeting with the Agriculture Department and other related agencies to tackle the invasion by alien species.
“The ministry held discussions with the Agriculture Department on Tuesday to determine what we can do to address the problem of invasive alien species in our ecosystem and we have to wait for the conclusions of the meeting to come up with more concrete measures,” Pralong said.
He admitted that the authorities did not have any agency or committee to address the specific problem of invasive alien species, hence all related agencies will have to band together to integrate each organisation’s ability to tackle this new issue.
“We have a committee for conserving and using national biodiversity, which is under the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning, but this committee’s task is only policy planning. We may have to set up another working group to mitigate the spread of alien species,” he noted.
Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry spokesman Sorawit Thaneto pointed out that while the official measures to contain and prevent invasive alien species were yet to be determined, the ministry assured that the current strict regulations on the movement of animals and plants in and out of the country were enough to prevent the future spread of alien species in Thailand.
“There is already very tight control on the import and export of animals and plants and it is very hard for alien species to be brought into the country through official ports of entry. We have a list of species that are prohibited from entry into the country” Sorawit explained.
“At the same time, we have noticed many kinds of alien species being introduced through uncontrolled informal entry points.”
He said related agencies within his ministry will have to wait for official instructions from the joint working group, which is going to be set up, on how to control invasion by alien species.
Authorities stepped up urgent efforts to mitigate the spread of invasive alien species after the public panicked on finding the New Guinea flatworm, which is on the list of 100 of the world’s worst invasive alien species and could be harmful to endemic species of snails.
The worms have been found and reported from various areas across the country since early November.

Published : November 16, 2017

By : Pratch Rujivanarom The Nation