EU ABS Regulation: alien species, biocontrol organisms and associated organisms

Published on
September 23, 2021

Earlier this year, the European Commission published a revised Guidance document on the EU ABS Regulation (Regulation (EU) 511/2014) which provides more information on the scope and user obligations of the Regulation. In this article we highlight two topics regarding the scope: alien species and biocontrol organisms, and associated organisms.

Alien species and biocontrol organisms

Alien species are non-native species that do not originally occur in an area, but were intentionally or unintentionally introduced outside their natural range due to human activity. This includes, for example, biocontrol organisms that were released to control pests.

Alien species may be in scope of the EU ABS Regulation whether or not they may become invasive, and whether or not they were introduced to the environment intentionally or unintentionally. Once alien species have established in a country (i.e. they are self-sustaining in the wild), they are considered as occurring in in situ conditions in that country. The country where access from in situ conditions takes place is the provider country whose rules should be followed, even if the species is not native to that country. The same is the case for released biocontrol organisms when they are established in the country where they were released.

For more information, consult sections 2.1.4 and 2.1.5 of the Guidance.

Associated organisms on an (accessed) genetic resource

An associated organism is any organism residing in or on another genetic resource, such as parasites, pests, pathogens, symbionts or its microbiota. In some cases, conditions for utilisation of associated organisms are specified in PIC and MAT applicable to the genetic resource obtained. If PIC and MAT do not contain information concerning the utilisation of associated organisms, the user is advised to contact the provider country and clarify whether requirements to obtain PIC and MAT apply to the utilisation of such organisms associated with the genetic resources accessed.

For more information, consult section of the Guidance.