Non-native 'killer shrimp' and zebra mussels are "invading Britain" at a rate never seen before, a government watchdog says.
The Environmental Audit Committee, Parliament's green watchdog, said Britain needs better tools to fight non-native plants and animals that threaten the environment and human health.
Wanted posters have also been created by the Non-native species department of government to alert the public of the latest dangers.
In 2012, 1,875 non-native species were counted in the UK, 282 of which had become "invasive."
The likes of Japanese Knotweed, North American signal crayfish, killer shrimp, and zebra mussels, can also have an effect on the native species, as well on human health and business.
Other non-native species in Britain include the grey squirrel and rhododendrons.
A species is defined as native in Great Britain if it re-colonised after the end of the last period of glaciation.
Speaking on past invasive groups such as the grey squirrel, which causes £10 million worth of damage to trees per year, Walley said:
In the United States, zebra mussels cause a nuisance to local trade, this image was tweeted by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources:
Philine zu Ermgassen from Cambridge University points out the main identification features of the Zebra Mussel, as well as the ecological / economic impacts and potential management options.
The committee is also calling for a change in law to eradicate invasive species before they become established - currently no-one has ever been prosecuted for releasing non-native animals and plants into the wild.
The governments Environment Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science suggests the following to reduce the risk of exotic and non-exotic diseases on fish and shellfish farms:
- Strict rules for importing live fish, molluscs and crustacea
- Regular monitoring of fish, shellfish and crustacean farms by the Fish Health Inspectorate (FHI)
- Speedy containment of outbreaks of serious disease where detected by the FHI or notified by someone else
- Taking all the necessary precautions when buying, selling, keeping and moving live aquatic animals
The European Environment Agency estimates that invasive species cost EU countries £9.9 billion a year, while it cost £11 million to eradicate Rhododendron from one national park in Wales alone, according to the CLA.
Some invasive species have direct human health effects, such as the Asian Hornet, which has has yet to enter Britain, but has so far killed six people in France.
Other issues with non-native species have caused skin inflammations, while the pollen of common ragweed causes asthma.
Species alerts have also been set up on the NNSS and Environment Agency websites, these include:
- Quagga Mussel
- Asian hornet
- Killer Shimp
- Zebra Mussels
- Japanese Knotweed
- Water Primrose
- Carpet Sea-squirt
- Grey Squirrel