NEWS

Report: Dead Insects Found On Board Identified As Stink Bugs

Brown marmorated stink bugs were among the dead insects found on a Japanese car ship, Morning Menad, that was berthed at the Suva Wharf, according to preliminary Fijian Biosecurity reports.
20 Feb 2018 12:28
Report: Dead Insects Found On Board Identified As Stink Bugs
Dean At the USP's Faculty of Science , Technology and Environment , Anjeela Jokhan

Brown marmorated stink bugs were among the dead insects found on a Japanese car ship, Morning Menad, that was berthed at the Suva Wharf, according to preliminary Fijian Biosecurity reports.

Biosecurity officers had been closely inspecting the ‘Morning Menad’ since it arrived on Saturday. They used information from the New Zealand authorities.

Anjeela Jokhan, Dean at the University of the South Pacific’s Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment, said the invasive bugs posed an immense risk to local agriculture.

“They (stink bugs) damage a fairly large range of crops – from soft, pulpy crops, to trees and seeds; some have also been known to damage coconuts,” Ms Jokhan said.

Ms Jokhan said given the vulnerabilities of island ecosystems, there was a greater need to be aware of foreign biosecurity threats.

“Given that the islands are small, any species introduced, if it finds a favourable environment, will grow rapidly and destroy whatever they feed on,” she said.

“Again, because of the size of the islands if say a species is very badly affected – or eaten by a predator – there will not be much more around to replace them.

“Hence the potential to actually lose a species is high in the islands.”

The ship left the country for New Zealand after the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) officers completed their inspection of the ship’s cargo and that all risk mitigation measures were satisfactory. Port and customs authorities in New Zealand have also been informed of this.

Spiders and other insects were among the discovery. It is unclear whether they, too, are invasive species.

The local agriculture industry, with over 200,000 workers, contributes $451 million or nine per cent to the nation’s annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Similar stink bugs were recently found inside Japanese car-carriers in New Zealand, forcing authorities to re-direct four ships away from the country.

The general fear was the impact the agricultural pest could cause to the country’s $5.6 billion horticulture industry, according to media reports. Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback: sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj

Fijisun E-edition
Advertise with fijisun
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
error: