Alien Organisms and trade in Endangered Species (CITES)
What are the risks associated with importing and keeping freshwater crustaceans regarding their establishment in Norway and the introduction and spread of pathogens to the red-listed (vulnerable) native crayfish?
The Norwegian Environmental Agency has commissioned the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment (VKM) to assess the risks associated with import and keeping of crustaceans in freshwater aquaria.
This assessment has been commissioned due to increased interest in the import of freshwater crustaceans for private acquarium enthousiasts. The main interest is in freshwater crayfish, but crabs and shrimps are also of interest.
VKM will first determine the range of species currently being kept in Norway, and which species are likely to be of interest in the years to come. VKM will then assess the risk these species pose to biodiversity in Norway, and especially to the endangered native crayfish. The assessment will evaluate the risk of alien species establishment in Norway from now to 2100, and the risk of the introduction and spread of foreign pathogens.
The noble crayfish (Astacus astacus) is the only native species of freshwater crayfish in Norway. It is severely threatened following the introduction of the signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus), a carrier of the crayfish plague.
An important part of the project will be to identify species with characteristics similar to the signal crayfish, which can outcompete the noble crayfish and possibly introduce new detrimental diseases.
The project group consists of:
The VKM Panel on Alien Organisms and Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) is responsible for the risk assessment. The assessment is scheduled for publication in mid-December 2020.