How Can You Become Involved?

Pathways for IAS introductions in the Caribbean

There are a several Pathways for IAS introduction into the Caribbean. The increase in international economic and cultural links in such areas as agriculture, aquaculture, transport and trade in crops and livestock have provided a multiplicity of pathways for these introductions, each rated by the level of risk. There is considerable overlap between them. An excellent review of the pathways of introduction of IAS was done by Meissner et al (2009) for the greater Caribbean. In this review, the major pathways are identified as well as the associated factors that increase the vulnerability of Caribbean territories to the introduction and spread of invasives. This seminal analysis identified nine distinct pathways for the introduction of IAS into the WCR. None of these were regarded as a low risk to agriculture. None of the pathways assessed was rated as low-risk.


Pathways and Risk Rating for IAS

Very High Risk

Medium Risk

No Rating

Human movement

Airline Passenger Baggage

Maritime trade

Wood Packaging material

Natural spread

Forestry related pathways


Propagative material



Changing climate will create suitable conditions for the further spread and invasion of invasive and potentially invasive species. Changes in weather patterns and increasing temperatures may also enable species to expand their current range as is the case of disease carrying mosquitoes. Increased carbon dioxide enrichment in aquatic ecosystems will affect all organisms and could also contribute to the invasiveness of certain terrestrial and aquatic species. It appears that successful IAS introductions into the Caribbean come from an area of similar ecological conditions and one with which the region has significant trade ties. Trade may also be via a secondary source. E.g., a pest from the Indo-Pacific region is first introduced into the Southern USA and then from there, to the Caribbean.

Tackling the IAS Problem in the Caribbean… a role for all

1. Public Sector Policy Makers and the Service
Plan: Develop a national policy and strategy. Clearly define goals and objectives, as the first step in formulating and invasive alien species plan. If embarking on eradication compete a feasibility plan fist and ensure the funding is in place to sustain efforts.
Prioritise: Short term vs long term actions. Successful management and mitigation of the threat of IAS requires capacity for both rapid response and long-term mitigation.
Publicise: Communicate the Plan to all sector of the society. Undertake public education and enhance public awareness.
Protect: Establish National Regulation in accordance with the international treaties on Invasive Alien Species such as the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Pull it all together: Improve coordination among stakeholder multilateral environment agreements and other regional and international institutions in particular with sharing of information on the status of IAS.

2. Educators and Youth
Empower the public: Public education is an important tool to minimize invasive species introductions. Provide information, including brochures, posters and lectures on invasive alien species to target sections of employees, the public and media houses. Engage in social marketing to techniques to get the message across.
Educate the children: Teachers encourage students to explore the impact of introduced species on native biodiversity, trade, tourism, and sustainable livelihoods. Ensure that they understand their role in preventing their introduction and spread. Use the many online resources with information, interactive games and classroom activities.
Engage the youth: Youth get involved and volunteer to help with local invasive plant eradication or control initiatives. Learn to recognise invasive species and be alert for signs about the environment and adopt what you learn in your daily lives.

3. Commercial enterprises especially those in the pet and aquarium trade, agriculture/horticulture industries, Tourism and Transport Industries
Be Informed: Seek information and educate yourself, keep abreast of the issues of the environment.
Be Responsible: Incorporate good practises in production, processing and waste disposal operations. Ensure that business activates do not harm the environment.
Be Compliant: Adhere to all laws and quarantine regulations regarding import and export of all biological material, including Pest Risk Analysis. Comply with all public advisories on new IAS.
Be Proactive: Educate and train employees and associates on IAS issues and the environment.
Be Selective: Use native plants to landscape and create gardens that provide food, cover or nesting sites for local wildlife, including butterflies and birds.
Be Vigilant: Be cautious when buying plants and seeds on the internet or by mail order. If you see your local nursery selling invasive plants or seeds, inform them of your concerns. Report all suspicious plants and/or animals to the competent authorities.

4. Consumers
Pet Owners: Purchase pets from reputable dealers. Do not keep pets and animals that could escape and become invasive. Never release an unwanted pet to the wild – return it to a qualified person, pet shop, zoo or humanely dispose of it.
Travellers: Leave biological items in their natural habitats. Clean hiking boots before walking in a new area as invasive weed seeds are common hitchhikers. Comply with all quarantine rules and regulations.
Boating and Fishing Enthusiasts: Always wash boats with hot, high pressure tap water on the land side before travelling to a new waterway. Let boats dry five days before using it in another waterway. Remove all suspicious material and wash all fishing equipment.


Species Invading the Caribbean