Water hyacinth supposedly an 'Invasive Alien Species'

Dutch growers frustrated by 'absurd' European ban

Several plants had to be disposed of in the past two weeks at Dutch growers: Moerings Waterplanten, but also at the nursery Aqua Look, nursery Van Senten and two or three other growers. This is due to a ‘black list’ published by the EU, with the names of 38 allegedly harmful exotic animals and plants. Besides the American bullfrog and the Siberian Chipmunk it also lists a number of aquatic plants like the Cabomba and Water hyacinth, which are grown by these producers for the commercial market.

Obviously they are not happy with this: after all, from one moment to the next, part of their livelihood is being taken away. That’s bad enough, but Jan van Walsem of Moerings says: "If a plant is really overgrowing and choking other plants, then it may be understandable. But when that’s not the case, it’s a different story." Esther de Vreede from Aqua Look (in an earlier report by Omroep West, a Dutch TV station): "The plant may overgrow in certain countries in Southern Europe, but not in the Netherlands. The plant dies below five degrees, so it presents no danger in the Netherlands and most other countries."

On the left, plants being removed from nursery Aqua Look (image from Omroep West report); on the right the Water hyacinth and Cabomba (photos: NVWA)

No sense
In other words, the ban makes no sense at all. It seems like an example of what Eurosceptics would undoubtedly call senseless interference and overregulation. Rules no one is waiting for, that seem to have materialized out of thin air. The latter is not entirely true, because a similar list was published before; and was withdrawn at the time. And now, just before summer, it suddenly surfaced again.

The list (which can be reviewed here), 
is a bit strange in any case. The raccoon may be a pest in parts of Germany, but is that also the case here? And what about, for example, the Lysichiton americanus? This plant really only grows in certain regions in Northwest Europe and simply does not thrive in other parts of Europe. More or less the opposite of the Water Hyacinth. And the list goes on...

On holiday
But Europe has spoken and then you just have to obey. Plant removal was immediately initiated because if you haven’t complied within 20 days, then you are punishable by law, Jan knows. And believe it or not, but due to the holidays, Brussels has been unavailable. "When they’re back we will of course submit objections, like we did last time. And then we'll see."

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