Frequent interception of Giant African Snail at our ports a major concern
Another adult snail found in Suva with highest interception in quarantine history recorded in April
The frequent interception of Giant African Snails at Fijian ports has become a serious concern for the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji. This comes as BAF intercepted yet another adult Giant African Snail (GAS) onboard MV Ngankin, Voyage 1612 from Noumea, New Caledonia transiting through Port of Suva outbound to New Zealand.
In April this year, BAF intercepted 28 adult Giant African Snails and approximately 500 eggs at the Kings Wharf which was the largest in the history of Quarantine and Biosecurity Operation in Fiji. BAF executive chairman, Xavier Khan, said GAS has the potential to reproduce and develop a population from a single introduced snail.
“International research reveals GAS as second (2nd) ranked on the “100 Worst Alien Invasive Species” list, as it is a vector of human disease and a voracious herbivore,” he said. “GAS is recorded to consume 500 different kinds of plants including, Carrots, Cauliflower, Cassava, Cotton, Cucumber, Eggplant, Marigold, Melons, Noni, Okra, Papaya, Peas, Peas, Pumpkin, Sponge gourd, Banana, Bean, Breadfruit, Cabbage, Cacao and Taro.” Mr Khan assured BAF will continue to monitor the affected containers after treatments to the final destinations including fumigating all discharged cargoes with Methyl Bromide gas and using additional snail baits to lure and kill all escaping GAS. Salt can also dry and kill the GAS.
Mr Khan highlighted BAF, with the help of New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries (NZ MPI), is working on introducing a Sea Container Hygiene System (SCHS) in Fiji to manage exotic pests such as Giant African Snail.
BAF said it will ensure that Fiji as a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) complies with Sanitary and Phytosanitary agreement. This will be by eliminating biosecurity risks at the border for all incoming cargoes and passengers while also ensuring that the consignments are free of pests and diseases which may affect the flora and fauna of the importing country.
BAF will be notifying all the relevant agencies in regards to this interception and endeavour to maintain the status of Fiji as a GAS free country. Mr Khan said Fiji’s agro exports and agricultural industry is very crucial for all Fijians. “The introduction of GAS will have devastating impacts on the industries thus protecting our agricultural industry through increased vigilance and screening of all incoming and transiting cargoes and passengers is paramount,” he said. Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org