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

Fiji Sun - - Sunbiz - SOURCE: BIOSE­CU­RITY AU­THOR­ITY OF FIJI

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.

New sys­tem

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: rach­nal@fi­jisun.com.fj

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