Officials, managers and experts from Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Zambia are meeting in Bujumbura, Burundi from tomorrow to review known invasive species and risks in the Lake Tanganyika basin. The workshop, to be held from 29 – 31 March 2011 will also discuss ways to monitor, manage and control existing or possible future invasive species threats.
Surveys have shown that several invasive plants such as water hyacinth and the widespread Mimosa pigra as well as Mimosa diplotricha are already present in the Lake Tanganyika basin, and there are also indications that the Nile tilapia is present, which can have negative impacts on local fish communities and general lake ecology.
It is not too late to manage invasive species in the Lake Tanganyika basin, but action will need to be taken now. Dr. Geoffrey Howard, world expert on invasive species in Africa, and member of the IUCN Invasive Species Initiative states: “In the near future, states will need to improve and expand on a strategy that they have enacted in recent years. The emphasis should be on monitoring as well as management of invasive species – including the developing structure of the monitoring process.”
One of the possible ways to manage invasive species that will be discussed during the workshop is biological control. In addition, the workshop will look at awareness raising and regional cooperation as important tools in invasive species control.
The Lake Tanganyika Authority (LTA), UNDP/GEF Project on Lake Tanganyika, and IUCN are working together with the riparian countries to address the threat of invasive species. The Lake Tanganyika Authority is a regional organization with the mandate to coordinate the implementation of the Convention on Sustainable Management of Lake Tanganyika. The Secretariat of the LTA is based in Bujumbura, Burundi.