Caribbean Invasive Species Working Group

Red Palm MiteOver the past 20 years, trade in agricultural commodities and movement of people have increased considerably, and this has resulted in a surge in worldwide movement and establishment of exotic pests and pathogens (invasive alien species) in the Greater Caribbean Region.

With further trade liberalisation likely, the onslaught of exotic pests and pathogens will continue to increase, and the expected gains from increased product trade and movement of people will continue to be offset and undermined by damage caused by introduced exotic pests and pathogens.

The 2003 annual meeting of the Caribbean Food Crops Society (CFCS) devoted a special 1-day symposium to the issue of invasive species. This brought together scientists, policy makers and trade specialists from throughout the Caribbean to discuss the issues caused by introduced pests and pathogens and also gave a forum to present papers which dealt with some of the scientific methods employed to tackle the problems. At the CFCS meeting a number of breakout group sessions were held and the Caribbean Invasive Species Working Group (CISWG) was formed. The group currently comprises as official members: CAB International (CABI), CARDI (chair), CARICOM Secretariat, the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the InterAmerican Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture (IICA), Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), United States Department of Agriculture Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS), University of Florida (UF), and the University of the West Indies (UWI).
In addition to these all the Caribbean (English, French, Spanish and Dutch speaking) have been invited to nominate a contact person to liase with CISWG. Also several other agencies have sent representative to CISWG meetings; several of these have been invited to become formal members and replies are awaited. The purpose of the CISWG is to develop strategies which safeguard the Caribbean against attack by
invasive species; or more specifically to prevent as far as possible, the introduction of alien invasive species and to develop strategies for those which do manage to enter the region. The focus is on invasive species, which present a threat to agricultural and trade in agricultural commodities and products. These include plant and livestock products; at present the CISWG has not considered the threat of alien invasive species to fisheries.

Member Countries:

Antigua and Barbuda
The Bahamas
St. Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago