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Norway party calls for 'Slug Hour' to beat mollusc peril

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Norway party calls for 'Slug Hour' to beat mollusc peril
A Spanish slug in the early days of the invasion in 2004. Photo: Berit Roald / SCANPIX
18:03 CEST+02:00
Norway’s Socialist Left Party has proposed a new national “slug hour”, which will see people in Norway hunt and destroy the invasive Spanish Slug.
Kari Elisabeth Kaski, the party’s secretary, modelled the idea of Earth Hour, which began as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia, and has since grown into a global movement. 
 
“We have seen how well it has worked with Earth Hour, where you turn off the lights for one hour,” she told Norway's VG newspaper. “Norwegians are happy to volunteer, and everyone who knows about Spanish Slugs is saying that we need a coordinated and concerted effort.”
 
Kaski warned that the warming climate in Norway was helping the oversized mollusc to spread into ever more northerly parts of the country, threatening farmers, gardeners and nature in general. 
 
“I think that garden centres and flower shops are too bad at checking their plants for slug eggs,” she said. “Anyone who buys plants should receive a guarantee that they are slug-free goods. We must toughen up the legislation here”, she said.
 
The planned “slug hour” would take place twice a year, and Kaski said she was convinced that Norwegians would get involved.  
 
“Many people pick slugs ever day because they have problems with them in their garden, and given the volunteer spirit Norwegians have, I'm sure this is something people will help with.” 
 
VG newspaper, which has launched a campaign to combat the encroachment of the alien gastropod, on Saturday backed an all-day slug-hunting competition on the island of Stord, south of Bergen, in a bid to reduce the impact of the troublesome pest.  
 
Jakob Bjelland, the deputy mayor, said before the event that he did not expect to eradicate the mollusc, which has plagued the island for two decades. 
 
“If we can reduce one billion snails to 100 million, it would be a feat in itself,” he said. “Maybe we could have make this a permanent arrangement every autumn.” 
 
The Spanish or Portuguese Slug (Arion Lusitanicus) is a large slug between 70-150 mm long. Originating somewhere in Southern Europe, it first appeared in Norway in 1988, and has since spread along the coast past the city of Trondheim. 
 
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