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Threat to environment avoided

By Elenoa Baselala SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, April 28, 2010) - A Russian cargo ship was last week restricted from unloading containers at the Suva Wharf following the discovery of live pests.

The MV Florence was stopped by biosecurity officials who found the larvae during a routine inspection of cargo and container discharge from the vessels which arrived from neighboring Pacific islands.

Biosecurity director Ilaitia Boa said it was a clear example that Fiji’s quarantine system worked to protect our country’s biosecurity.

"The live pest is an exotic pest that poses a serious threat to Fiji’s horticulture industries and native forests," he said. "The pest is not known to occur in Fiji and its establishment would cause significant economic losses for horticulture production."

Mr. Boa said the pests infested damaged container spillage of processed animal feed originating from the west coast via Pacific Island Countries.

"All Fiji bound containers and cargo got contaminated through cross infestation," he said.

After the completion of treatment, the vessel was allowed to berth for further inspection.

Quarantine officials sprayed the ship and all spillage was incinerated.

"The risk to Fiji’s horticulture and timber industries was simply too great to allow this vessel to dock."

"Biosecurity Quarantine has well established procedures for dealing with this type of risk by sending the vessel to sea for anchorage for decontamination by treating the entire vessel, containers and cargo."

Boa said after the completion of treatment and inspection the vessel was allowed for berthing and further inspection. Spraying was conducted during the discharge and all spillage and residues were incinerated.

"Last month, Biosecurity turned away another cargo vessel arriving from Pacific Island Countries following detection of Giant African Snail on the vessel," said Boa.

Boa encouraged all stakeholders to share the responsibility of quarantine by reporting unusual findings in shipments to Fiji Biosecurity Quarantine Division.

"Watching out for any unusual pests and disease symptoms is just one way to help protect Fiji’s agriculture, forestry and marine life," he said.

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