Scientific Opinion on the evaluation of the pest risk analysis on Pomacea insularum, the island apple snail, prepared by the Spanish Ministry of Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs


Panel on Plant Health
EFSA Journal
EFSA Journal 2012;10(1):2552 [57 pp.].
Panel members at the time of adoption
Richard Baker, Thierry Candresse, Erzsébet Dormannsné Simon, Gianni Gilioli, Jean-Claude Grégoire, Michael John Jeger, Olia Evtimova Karadjova, Gábor Lövei, David Makowski, Charles Manceau, Maria Navajas, Angelo Porta Puglia, Trond Rafoss, Vittorio Rossi, Jan Schans, Gritta Schrader, Gregor Urek, Johan Coert van Lenteren, Irene Vloutoglou, Stephan Winter and Marina Zlotina

The Panel wishes to thank the members of the Working Group on Pomacea (Nils Carlsson, Gianni Gilioli, Johan Coert van Lenteren, Gritta Schrader and Trond Rafoss) for their preparatory work on this scientific opinion, EFSA staff members Sybren Vos and Sara Tramontini for the support provided to this scientific opinion, and Dr PR Martin from the Universidad Nacional del Sur, San Juan Bahia Blanca, Argentina, for the provision of South American data on the apple snail.

Opinion of the Scientific Committee/Scientific Panel
On request from
European Commission
Question Number
31 December 2011
Published in the EFSA Journal
23 January 2012
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy

The Panel considers the Spanish pest risk analysis (PRA) to be clear and to provide appropriate supporting evidence. However, (i) the environmental impact assessment is incomplete and (ii) the estimates for the potentially endangered area are too limited. The Panel points out that large areas of the European Union have climatic conditions, that are very similar to those of the areas of native distribution of Pomacea spp. snails, and suitable host plants are available. The Panel agrees with the Spanish PRA on the following points with regard to the risk assessment area: (i) the potential consequences of the organism for rice crops are major; (ii) the probability for establishment of the organism is very likely and (iii) the probability of spread is estimated as likely. The Panel disagrees with the Spanish PRA on the following points and considers (i) the effects on the environment to be massive under suitable environmental conditions in the PRA area and (ii) the probability of entry of the organism to be high. Regarding risk reduction options the Panel agrees with the Spanish PRA that no single risk reduction method is sufficient to halt the introduction and spread of Pomacea spp. snails in the PRA area. However, a legislative ban on import of Pomacea spp. is the only risk reduction option identified that can reduce the probability of entry. The many other risk reduction options listed will help to reduce the probability of spread within the PRA area. The Panel considers that the risk reduction options should target the canaliculata complex, as Pomacea insularum and P. canaliculata, as well as other species from the complex, are almost indistinguishable. This is of particular importance for risk reduction options addressing both breeding and trade of the organism.

apple snail, pest risk analysis, Pomacea canaliculata, Pomacea insularum, natural wetlands, rice fields
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