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BAF Vigilant on Pests, Diseases Control at Ports of Entry

BAF Vigilant on Pests, Diseases Control at Ports of Entry
Biosecurity officers supervise fumigation of vehicles at Lautoka wharf after the interception of Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs (BMSB) on a vessel early this year. PHOTO: BAF, Lautoka
September 05
11:00 2018

There is a need to carry out biosecurity risk mitigation measures on international vessels, cargo they carry and where applicable passengers as well to ensure that exotic pests and diseases do not enter our shores.

Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) Plant Pathologist and Head of Communications Riten C. Gosai said BAF was mandated under the Biosecurity Act 2008 (as a statuto­ry body and the prime quarantine regulatory authority) to ensure that Fiji was protected against harmful foreign pests and diseases.

“Invasive non-indigenous species are among the greatest threats to Fiji’s agricultural and horticultur­al industries, our environment and biodiversity,” Mr Gosai said.

INTERCEPTING

“We have been ocassionally inter­cepting exotic pests in container vessels and cargo including cars imported into Fiji,” he said.

He mentioned that with the in­crease in trade and travel, BAF has noted a consistent increase in inter­ceptions of exotic pests at the bor­ders as well, thus implementation of risk mitigation measures were extremely vital.

“Any introduction and spread of foreign pests and diseases (such as the Giant African Snail, Brown/ Yellow Marmorated Stink Bugs, Red Imported Fire Ants, Brown Tree Snakes, Taro Leaf Blight, Foot and Mouth Disease and Rabies to name a few will affect Fiji’s food se­curity and trade,” he said.

PROFILING OF VESSELS

BAF plays a major role in profiling all incoming vessels including con­tainer vessels, car carriers, fishing vessels, research vessels, tankers as well as yachts to ensure they are not bringing with them agricultural, aquatic and zoonotic threats.

“High risk vessels are classified by the presence of exotic pest and dis­ease organisms when inspected at our port of entries,” he said.

Biosecurity risk mitigation meas­ures are implemented upon inter­ception of live pests in vessels or in the cargo brought by the vessel dur­ing discharge supervision.

“Risk mitigation measures are also implemented based on season­al occurrence of pests and diseases in certain countries, for example, between September to May BAF implements preventative measures whereby all cars arriving from Japan need to undergo mandatory treatment against Brown/Yellow Marmorated Stink Bugs.”

FUMIGATION

“If vessels are found to harbor pests or disease organisms, they undergo fogging, insecticide appli­cations and baiting as well as fumi­gation treatments based on the level of interceptions” he said.

Mr Gosai said partial or full fu­migation of the vessel concerned at the quarantine bay and fumigation or other applicable treatment of the containers, cars and cargo are con­ducted as deemed necessary by the BAF technical and scientific teams.

Risk mitigation measures may also be applied to local ships that serve inter-island routes (like Nabouwalu – Natovi) for domestic quarantine measures and effective implementation of our Biosecurity Emergency Declarations (BED) such as those currently in place for Asian Subterranean Termites, Giant Invasive Iguana, American Foulbrood disease and Bovine Brucellosis.

INSPECTION

“All international passengers, vessels and cargo arriving into the country are subject to biosecurity inspection and clearance process­es,” he said.

These processes have always been in place, however, certain biosecu­rity import conditions may be re­viewed depending on pest and dis­ease occurrence or status change of a country from where the vessel or consignments are coming from.

“Biosecurity risk mitigation meas­ures at all our international borders have successfully safeguarded our country from the introduction of dreaded and tremendously harm­ful exotic pests and diseases present elsewhere in the world,” he said.

BAF will continue to implement these risk mitigation measures whenever interceptions or non-com­pliances at our ports occur.

BAF will continuously review cur­rent measures and implement addi­tional measures where necessary to ensure Fiji remains free from inva­sive foreign pests and diseases.

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