We are urging UK aquatic plant growers and retailers who sell them to have their say to the European Commission about its latest plan to ban the sale of Pistia stratiotes (Water Lettuce), Gymnocoronis spilanthoides (Senegal tea plant) and Salvinia molesta (Giant salvinia) as invasive alien species from next summer.

The Commission has opened up a consultation period on their proposal which lasts until 5 April 2019 and this is our last chance to oppose this proposal before it goes to the vote in June. OATA is making representation to the Commission along with Ornamental Fish International and the European Pet Organization. However, we are urging UK aquatic plant growers/retailers to help back us up by submitting your feedback to the Commission to oppose these listings particularly for Water Lettuce, as this was the alternative suggested by Defra to the now banned Water Hyacinth.

OATA are unable to prepare a template response for you to use as duplicate responses will not be considered by the Commission. However, we provide below some useful pointers as to issues you may wish to raise with the Commission in your feedback:

  • That these three aquatic plants cannot over-winter in the UK, especially as Water Lettuce and Giant salvinia are frost sensitive. Therefore, their risk of becoming invasive in the UK is low.
  • The Water Lettuce is the only alternative to the already banned Water Hyacinth. If these three aquatic plant species are listed, there are no alternatives to them
  • Outline the financial impact of any such ban on your business, particularly in light of the current Brexit uncertainty and the Water Hyacinth ban
  • That a European Union wide ban is not the proportionate response. Ask why the European Commission is refusing to consider sensible alternatives, such as a model for trade presented by the European Pet Organization, that would permit regional listing – this being the proportionate response.

All feedback should be submitted via the link here. They need to be in before midnight on 5 April 2019.