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By John Ravelo

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Jan. 3) – The population explosion of harmful slugs on Rota has worsened, prompting the island's lawmakers to seek federal assistance to curb the increasing number of the agricultural pest.

"They have occupied almost the entire island of Rota," said Isidoro T. Cabrera, agricultural consultant to the Northern Marianas College's Cooperative Research, Extension and Education Service.

Cabrera, who visited that island about two weeks ago, said the Rota delegation has asked Pete A. Tenorio, the Northern Marianas resident representative in Washington, D.C., to seek federal funding to help curb the slug population.

"The farmers are using chemical bait and snail bait to reduce the population in the farms," Cabrera said. "They are concerned because slugs are eating vegetables."

Tropical horticulturist Mark J. Bonin of the Cooperative Research, Extension and Education Service on Rota, stressed the need for the government to strengthen quarantine efforts.

Bonin said the Cuban slugs on Rota are believed to have come from Hawaii and Guam. The pests are believed to have reached Hawaii through importation of ornamental plants about 15 years ago.

Cabrera said the slug population on Rota might decline as the dry season approaches.

Cabrera said no Cuban slug has been on Saipan.

January 3, 2005

Saipan Tribune


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