• Register
Home  //  Bio-Security The Nature Of The Problem
Bio-Security: The Nature Of The Problem

Bio-security issues are of increasing economic and ecological significance. Globalisation has expanded the biosec01 300 possibilities, extent and complexity of world trade and the growth of the tourism market has expanded the number of destinations for activity holidays and travellers.  These trends have led to the increased probability of the unintentional as we all as intentional  introduction, establishment and spread of non native invasive species, parasites and diseases in Scotland and the UK. In the context of this first plan, bio-security issues in the rivers and lochs of Scotland are associated with the introduction and spread of non native invasive species and fish diseases. 

According to a survey conducted by Scottish Natural Heritage, there are approximately 1000 non native species present in Scotland the majority of which exist in small populations with little impact on native flora and fauna. However, a small but significant proportion of these non native species are invasive.

Invasive non native species (INNS) are those that have been transported outside of their natural range and that damage our environment, the economy, our health and the way we live.

According to CBD (2006), Invasive Non Native Species (INNS) are the second greatest threat to bio-diversity being capable of rapidly colonising a wide range of habitats and excluding the native flora and fauna. Furthermore, over the last 400 years  INNS have contributed to 40% of the animal extinctions where the cause of extinction is known. As water is an excellent transport medium for the dispersal of many of these species, rivers and lochs and their banks and shorelines are amongst the most vulnerable areas to the introduction, spread and impact of these species. The ecological changes wrought by INNS can further threaten already endangered native species and reduce the natural productivity and amenity value of riverbanks, shorelines and their waterbodies. 

The threat from invasive species is growing at an increasing rate assisted by climate change, pollution and habitat disturbance with a correspondingly greater socio-economic, health and ecological cost. Many countries including Scotland are now facing complex and costly problems associated with invasive species for example:


  • It is estimated that INNS cost the UK economy £2 billion per year


SMI Logo Large-1a

The Scottish Mink Initiative was launched in May 2011 and covers North Tayside, Aberdeenshire, Cairngorms, Moray and Highland - some 20,000km²!  The aim of the Initiative is to remove breeding American mink in a bid to save both native and economically important species such as waders, water vole, pheasant and partridge.  This volunteer based initiative is using a modified mink raft designed by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust.  The floating raft has a 2 fold purpose - to monitor for mink and to act as a trapping platform once mink prints have been positively identified.

Ann-Marie MacMaster is the Mink Control Officer for north Tayside and is seeking volunteers to monitor mink rafts particularly on the Bervie Water and River North Esk.  Additional volunteers are also required for the River South Esk and Lunan Water. 

If you would like to report a mink sighting or volunteer to help remove this non-native invasive species, please contact:

Ann-Marie on 07825 186043 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please see www.scottishmink.org.uk for more information.


Alistair Ingledew

Image © Alistair Ingledew  

Jamie Urquhart 2

Image © Jamie Urquhart    

Sarah Atkinson

Image © Sarah Atkinson