Southern California environment news and trends

The stupidity of managing marine invasive species

Southern California Caulerpa Action Team

California's got nine species of Caulerpa designated enemies of the state: marine invasives likely brought into coastal waters by the aquarium trade.

I tuned in to Madeleine's show about 25 minutes in today, so I caught the tail end of the divine Miss Brand and Pat Krug talking about lionfish in the Caribbean

The conversation spun into a larger talk about marine invasive species. KPCC has covered those issues here in southern California: a few years ago, we did some stories about the mountain yellow legged frog, about controversies around fish stocking, and about ballast water-driven marine invasions

As is his way, Pat Krug called, uh, just about everybody, "incredibly stupid" in terms of their approach to marine invasive. At one point, Madeleine said, "I can't believe there aren't any rules governing that by now." 

There are...sort of. California does have an invasive species plan. It's never gotten a lot of money. Mostly, California throws what money it does have at preventative measures; telling people not to dump aquariums in lagoons and coastal waters, that sort of thing. Nationally, we're still working on turning voluntary ballast water logs into mandatory requirements. Internationally, 74 countries were present 7 years ago when someone made a plan for international ballast water standards. There's still not enough signatories to the plan for it to take effect. The United States has not ratified the plan - though different groups like the American Alliance of Port Authorities are recommending that the U.S. do. What that leaves is a bunch of voluntary accords - aspirational statements about how we mean to handle things, or what would be a good procedure for neutralizing potential harm from ballast water if it were required.