A large number of alien species invasive prevention and control difficulties

  Our reporter Zhang Shoukun

  Not long ago, Zhongshan Port Customs, a subsidiary of Gongbei Customs, intercepted cockroaches of the genus Latino from the incoming logs at Zhongshan Port, which aroused social concern.

  Cockroaches, commonly known as cockroaches, currently have more than 4,000 known species. They are one of the important vector organisms monitored at customs ports and have strong adaptability and fecundity.

As an alien species, cockroaches are easy to colonize in invasive areas, posing a threat to the local ecological environment, and may also carry unknown pathogens to spread diseases and endanger human health.

  According to the "2020 China Ecological Environment Status Bulletin" issued by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, more than 660 alien invasive species have been discovered in my country, of which 71 species have caused substantial harm to the natural ecological environment of the invaded area, and are listed in the "Chinese Invasive Alien Species". In the "List", there are 219 species that have invaded several national nature reserves, posing a threat to the ecological environment and species in these reserves.

Statistics show that invasive species cause direct economic losses of more than 200 billion yuan to my country every year.

  According to the reporter of "Rule of Law Daily", there are three main ways for alien species to invade: natural invasion, intentional introduction and unintentional introduction.

Natural invasion refers to the natural diffusion through its own reproduction and diffusion, wind, water flow, animals, etc.; intentional introduction refers to the intentional introduction of certain species for the purposes of agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry, fishery production, ecological environment construction, ecological protection, ornamental, etc., out of control Causes dispersal; unintentional introduction occurs when a species disperses beyond its natural range using humans or human delivery systems as a medium.

Among the currently known invasive alien species in our country, many invasive species are introduced by human beings. In theory, they can be controlled. little.

  Why are there so many invasive alien species in China?

How can we effectively control invasive alien species?

With these questions, the reporter recently launched an investigation.

Due to lack of awareness of prevention and control

Introduced Species as Invaders

  Wang Yan (pseudonym) from Foshan City, Guangdong Province is a B station UP host. He usually shares many videos related to invasive alien species, such as red imported fire ants, water hyacinths, golden apple snails, and Brazilian turtles.

In his impression, from around 2000, various invasive alien species can be seen in daily life.

  "Invasive alien species are all around us." Wang Yan said, for example, there are many fire ants in the crops, and people are often bitten; by the streams in the village and even in the ponds of the city, there are apple snails everywhere, and some areas are densely produced by apple snails. The bright pink eggs are very conspicuous from a distance.

  Ling Yue from Xiamen City, Fujian Province also found various invasive alien species around him.

Due to the weather in Xiamen, when it rains, a lot of large African snails will appear in the open space downstairs and in the grass in the community where Lingyue lives. The children in the community do not understand, so they catch them and play with them.

  "African giant snails are full of bacteria and parasites. Some people died from eating giant snails before. The property management company in the community has cleaned them up several times, but they can't kill them all. But if they are allowed to reproduce and grow, what will happen to the residents? The harm cannot be underestimated." Ling Yue said.

  Ling Yue's worries were not without reason.

It is understood that the African giant snail was introduced into China as an economic species before, and after being scattered in the wild, due to its strong reproductive ability, the number is increasing, and it has been out of control in some places.

  Similarly, water hyacinths and Brazilian turtles are also out of control due to artificial introduction.

The former was introduced into my country as feed for livestock and poultry in the 1930s, and was promoted and planted as a plant for ornamental and water purification, and then escaped into a wild state, which was uncontrollable; the latter was introduced into my country in the 1980s. After more than 30 years, the native turtle The living space is greatly squeezed.

  The impact of apple snails getting out of control is even worse.

It can lay 200 to 1,000 eggs at a time, and the number of eggs laid can be as high as 20 to 40 times a year. A female snail can reach more than 300,000 after two generations of reproduction a year.

Unlike ordinary snails, apple snails have a very mixed diet and a large amount of food. The rice in the field is eaten up by it before it grows well. destroy.

Moreover, the apple snail is full of germs and is the host of a large number of parasites.

In May 2006, more than 160 people in Beijing were infected with Angiostrongylus cantonensis by eating apple snails, causing a major public health emergency.

  Why did alien species that were originally introduced with good intentions evolve out of control into alien invasive species?

  Yang Zhaoxia, director of the Ecological Law Research Center of Beijing Forestry University, told reporters that for a long time, from the government to the private sector, from the academic circle to the public, there has been a lack of awareness of biological invasion prevention and control.

For example, based on agricultural production, viewing, serving as companion animals, and solving local ecological problems, some places or departments will intentionally introduce species from abroad. Alien species become alien invasive species, and they are numerous, widely distributed, fast-growing, and harmful.

  Statistics show that among the 100 most harmful alien species announced by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, there are more than 50 in my country, of which 11 are the most serious. loss.

Invasive species not banned

Casual trading increases risk

  With the development of economy and society, harmful invasive alien species are regarded as "exotic pets" by many people.

  The reporter saw in the online mall that there are a large number of shops that are selling "exotic pets", including alligator gar, Brazilian turtle, tilapia, largemouth bass, echinacea, Australian rainbow shovel, etc.

On various social platforms, discussions on how to buy and raise "exotic pets" continue to be hot.

  Offline, some invasive alien species also "wander" in stores.

In August this year, the Agricultural Comprehensive Administrative Law Enforcement Detachment of Nantong City, Jiangsu Province seized several alligator gars sold as ornamental fish in supermarkets.

  The "2021 White Paper on China's Pet Industry" disclosed that among the classification of pet owners in China, reptiles accounted for 5.8%, exceeding 4.5% of rodents and 3.6% of bird pets.

  According to the interviewed experts, "exotic pets" have not been domesticated by humans, and are still wild animals in terms of attributes. When some owners abandon "exotic pets" at will, their aggressiveness, toxicity, and various pathogenic microorganisms may cause harm to human health. pose a serious threat.

  It is worth noting that many "exotic pets" are packaged in disguise and then illegally sent into China through channels such as cross-border e-commerce.

The reporter's investigation found that most stores provide free shipping services, and no refunds without reason for seven days are allowed, and reissues are not allowed if there is a death or a problem.

Some customer service told reporters that they have long-term cooperation with express companies, and there will be no failure to deliver the goods, nor will they be seized by the regulatory authorities.

  Yang Zhaoxia believes that online transactions of "exotic pets" such as crocodile gars, Brazilian turtles, and lizards have not been effectively curbed. The main reason is that the current legislation is insufficient to regulate transactions, especially online transactions.

  "According to laws and regulations such as the Biosafety Law and the "Measures for the Administration of Invasive Alien Species", my country's prohibitive regulations on alien species are mainly that alien species must not be introduced, released or discarded without approval. The law enforcement supervision of the transaction link is especially for the The law enforcement of online transactions is weak, and the awareness, catalogue, equipment, technology, coordination, etc. cannot keep up. In addition, online transactions are hidden and fast, objectively speaking, law enforcement is difficult.” Yang Zhaoxia analyzed.

  Gao Lihong, director of the Institute of Environmental and Resources Law of Zhongnan University of Economics and Law and vice president of the Environmental and Resources Law Research Association of the China Law Society, introduced that my country's current legal and regulatory system for invasive alien species regulates the import, introduction, carrying, and downstream discarding of alien species. , release mainly.

The purchase behavior in the middle reaches is not within the scope of legal prohibition, mainly because the buyer's ability to judge invasive alien species is insufficient. If it is included in the scope of legal prohibition, it is difficult to judge subjective intent.

However, once a private release occurs, it will enter the scope of the "illegal introduction, release or discarding of invasive alien species" and may result in criminal liability.

Widely distributed and difficult to eradicate

Obstacles still exist in governing by law

  During the interview, the reporter found that many interviewees expressed the opinion that “the invasive alien species are mainly infested by remote areas such as rural areas and forests, and the cities are less affected because they are rarely seen by alien invasive species”.

Is this the case?

  Yang Zhaoxia told reporters that studies have found that among the more than 100 species of alien pests that have invaded my country, more than 50 species have invaded urban ecosystems, of which 7 are the most severe among the 14 species announced by the IUCN (World Conservation Union). Threat of invasive insects.

  "Whether urban or rural, invasive alien species will pose a serious threat to ecological security and people's lives." Yang Zhaoxia said.

  Now that there is a serious threat, there is an urgent need for governance.

However, the reporter saw on social platforms that many people complained that they could not get a timely response when they reported invasive alien species to the relevant departments;

  Zhu Bingcheng, deputy director of the Institute of Environmental and Resources Law of China University of Political Science and Law, said that in practice, if a suspected alien species is found, or an alien species is released or discarded illegally, it can be reported to the local agricultural and rural departments, forestry and grassland departments, and natural resources according to different situations. Departments, ecological and environmental departments, etc.

If the department responsible for administrative management fails to perform its duties in accordance with the law, it may constitute administrative inaction. In this case, it can be reported to the local people's government or its superior competent department in accordance with the law.

  Cao Mingde, a professor of environmental law at China University of Political Science and Law and vice president of the Environmental Resources Law Research Association of the China Law Society, said that the Biosafety Law stipulates that the state should strengthen the prevention and response to the invasion of alien species to protect biodiversity.

This is currently the highest-level law on the issue of alien species invasion, and it is also the first time that alien species invasion has been clearly included in the scope of legal regulation.

However, in addition to the principled provisions in the law, specific operable rules can be found in administrative regulations such as the "Regulations on the Prevention and Control of Forest Diseases and Pests", "Administrative Measures for Invasive Alien Species", "List of Species Prohibited from Import for Plant Quarantine" and other departmental regulations. , and some local regulations.

From the perspective of the entire legislative system, my country lacks the legislative concept of preventing biological invasion in the field of ecological law, and also lacks the scientific thinking of comprehensively preventing the invasion of wild organisms.

  "In addition, law enforcement is weak, and illegal acts involving the invasion of alien species are generally concealed and difficult to investigate and deal with. The professional ability of law enforcement personnel at the grassroots level is relatively high. Many grassroots animal and plant disease prevention and control departments lack young backbones. There is a shortage of technical personnel.” Cao Mingde said that the technical means of law enforcement also need to be improved. At present, some forestry pest monitoring work mainly relies on manual on-site inspections, which do not have the conditions to be equipped with modern scientific and technological network technology.

  "The prevention and control of alien invasive species is by no means a matter of one department or one locality. It is necessary to promote the cooperation of ministries and commissions and inter-provincial linkages from the perspective of national security, conduct a comprehensive investigation of alien invasive species, increase the protection of funds for prevention and control, and ensure the normality of prevention and control work. Long-term effect." Cao Mingde said.

  In Gao Lihong's view, there are also multiple obstacles in judicial regulation of invasive alien species.

  "There is lag and incompleteness in the identification of invasive alien species. Different regulations, different regions, and different levels have different definitions of the scope of invasive alien species, which leads to difficulties in judicial identification." The crime of illegally introducing, releasing, and discarding invasive alien species 'According to the current interpretation, its scope is different from the definition of 'invasive alien species' in a series of laws and regulations such as the Biosecurity Law and the Yangtze River Protection Law. Plants, not microorganisms." Gao Lihong said.

  She pointed out that the complexity of invasive alien species makes it difficult to fix relevant evidence, and most invasive alien species cannot be traced except for those seized on the spot during law enforcement by customs and other departments.

Since the "crime of illegally introducing, releasing, and discarding invasive alien species" is a new crime, judicial practice lacks internal and unified judicial guidance.

On the whole, in the judiciary, the incrimination of this crime, the standards of guilt, procedural evidence issues, and the connection between administrative law enforcement and criminal justice are all in the preliminary exploration.

Departmental linkage to prevent intrusion

Mass participation in comprehensive prevention and control

  On July 4, 2020, the People's Government of Dali City, Yunnan Province issued a notice on comprehensively carrying out the prevention and control of apple snails in the Erhai Lake Basin: all cadres, workers and the public within the river basin, as long as they take the initiative to hand over the picked apple snail eggs to the town government and sub-district offices will give subsidies and rewards at the price of 40 yuan per kilogram of snail eggs.

  Zunyi City, Guizhou Province also encouraged citizens to capture invasive alien species such as Brazilian turtles, snapping turtles, and "scavengers" in natural waters, and hand them over to law enforcement agencies for rewards ranging from 5 yuan to 100 yuan.

At the same time, citizens are encouraged to report illegal trade and release of such alien species.

  In Yang Zhaoxia's view, these are relatively good methods and are worth promoting.

  "The construction of ecological civilization is a cause that requires everyone's participation, but it should be noted that while encouraging the common people to eradicate invasive alien species, they should strengthen science popularization and safety precautions to prevent the public from being harmed by bacteria and animal attacks." Yang Zhaoxia said, Incentives must also be deterred from counterfeiting, which could encourage alien species invasions.

  In order to focus on key managed species and improve the level of prevention and control of alien species invasion, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the Ministry of Natural Resources, and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment have recently jointly formulated the "List of Key Managed Alien Invasive Species". 59 key managed invasive alien species including noctuid moth, alligator gar, canadensis solidago, fire ants, and apple snails are included.

  Species listed in the list are the focus of prevention and control of invasive alien species at present and in the future.

The list implements the principle of dynamic adjustment, and will increase or decrease species in a timely manner on the basis of strengthening the collection of species occurrence information and hazard risk research and judgment.

  "From the perspective of legislation, there is no special law on the prevention and control of alien species invasion in my country, and it can be considered to be incorporated into the legislative system when the conditions are ripe. At the same time, the content of relevant crimes and responsibilities in the criminal law system will be updated. The existing Wildlife Protection Law, "Alien Species The "Measures for the Management of Invasive Species" should also be improved and perfected as soon as possible," Cao Mingde said.

  In his view, the current level of management of wild animals and alien species in our country is not commensurate with the severe situation of the biosecurity crisis we are facing, and we should establish risk assessment, tracking and monitoring, ecological early warning, quarantine, licensing, and hazard management to deal with the invasion of alien species as soon as possible. Complete institutional systems for elimination, ecological restoration, damage compensation, and accountability; strengthen scientific review and demonstration, and establish a risk assessment system for the introduction of alien species; based on classified management, improve the permit system for the introduction and release of alien species; establish species introduction And follow-up monitoring and emergency response mechanism after release; strict legal responsibility for the invasion of alien species.

  At the level of law enforcement, Gao Lihong suggested that, with reference to the collaborative model of the "river and lake chief system", the linkage of administrative law enforcement departments should be realized through the establishment of mechanisms such as cross-departmental joint meetings, information notification, and clue sharing. Consultation, evidence preservation, etc., to optimize the connection between administrative law enforcement and criminal justice.

In fact, the "Measures for the Administration of Invasive Alien Species" has clarified the powers and responsibilities of each functional department. The current main path is to establish practical information release systems, monitoring systems, and joint meeting systems at all levels and in each locality.

  "In addition, when releasing and discarding alien species, according to the Biosafety Law, administrative agencies will order the perpetrators to 'catch and retrieve' within a time limit, which is less likely to be realized, because even professional Functional departments also need to spend huge costs. In practice, it should be explored that if it cannot be retrieved or captured, the perpetrator should be required to go to the relevant ecological judicial restoration base to carry out reverse restoration equal to the consequences caused by it.” Gao Lihong said, At the judicial level, consideration can be given to establishing a judicial restoration base for the prevention and control of invasive alien species, and to develop a form of responsibility for ecological restoration.

  "Actively give play to the multiple functions of public interest litigation, supervise the performance of administrative agencies, and at the same time pursue the responsibility of individuals or units that endanger the public interest with invasive alien species. Organize and publish judicial guiding cases and typical cases for the prevention and control of invasive alien species as soon as possible, and regulate all regions Handle cases. In addition, for those who intentionally released, released, or discarded invasive alien species, causing serious ecological and environmental damage, a criminal incidental civil environmental public interest lawsuit may be considered.” Gao Lihong said.

  In Yang Zhaoxia's view, for a long time, the express industry has been neglected in the process of preventing and controlling the invasion of alien species, which should be paid attention to.

  "The relevant laws of the express delivery industry should also pay attention to the role of industry behavior in preventing the invasion of alien species, establish relevant systems for inspection and prevention of alien species, strengthen the regulation and restriction of the transaction process, and clearly stipulate that illegal sales and purchases of alien invasive species are prohibited, etc. , and improve the relevant responsibility system.” Yang Zhaoxia said.

  It is worth mentioning that during the investigation, the reporter found that with the recent massive publicity, many people are now afraid to avoid the mention of alien species.

  Yang Zhaoxia said that alien species should be treated correctly, and there is no need to talk about it.

"Alien species and alien invasive species are two different concepts. According to regulations, alien species must meet two conditions to become alien invasive species. One is that alien species can survive and reproduce for a long time to form a population in the foreseeable future after entering an area, The second is that it will threaten or harm the ecological environment, the development of agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry and fishery industries, and even human health in the introduced area. In fact, potatoes, carrots, peppers, peppers, etc. that we often eat are not native species in China, but are all alien species. , but not invasive alien species.” (Rule of Law Daily)