Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife
and Natural Habitats

Standing Committee

Recommendation No. 45 (1995) on controlling proliferation of Caulerpa taxifolia
in the Mediterranean

(Adopted by the Standing Committee on 24 March 1995)

The Standing Committee of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, acting under Article 14 of the Convention,

Having regard to the Convention's aims of conserving wild flora and fauna and their natural habitats and safeguarding endangered natural habitats;

Considering that under Article 11, paragraph 2 b, each Contracting Party undertakes to strictly control the introduction of non-native species;

Noting that the tropical seaweed Caulerpa taxifolia has proliferated in the Mediterranean where the colonies extend along the northern coast from the Balearics to Sicily;

Noting that, in general, in the ecosystems typical of the Mediterranean that have been invaded by Caulerpa taxifolia a decline in biodiversity affecting both flora and fauna can be observed;

Taking note that, although all the repercussions of Caulerpa taxifolia's proliferation in Mediterranean littoral environments cannot yet be foreseen, the data gathered so far do not exclude a major threat to indigenous biodiversity, ecological balances and resources used by humankind;

Considering the need to adopt precautionary measures in accordance with Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, which provides: “Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation”,

Recommends that Contracting Parties bordering on the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea:

1.         Control proliferation of Caulerpa taxifolia, in particular through systematic exploration of sites at risk along their coasts, especially in the vicinity of open moorings;

2.         Eradicate Caulerpa taxifolia colonies wherever possible, ie where they form isolated patches of less than 100 to 200 square metres in area and then control subsequent regrowth, giving priority attention to protected areas;

3.         Initiate coordinated action by countries affected or likely to be affected with a view to adopting a joint strategy;

4.         Inform States not party to the Bern Convention, either directly or through the International Commission for Scientific Exploration of the Mediterranean Sea, the Coordinating Unit of the Mediterranean Action Plan or the Secretariat of the Bucharest Convention for the Protection of the Black Sea against Pollution of 21 April 1992, of any proliferation of Caulerpa taxifolia colonies in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.