State ready to implement biosecurity plan

Photo courtesy Hawaii DLNR

The state has finalized its first interagency and comprehensive biosecurity plan to protect Hawaii’s agriculture, environment, economy and health.

In the past, individual federal, state, and local agencies tried their best to address and manage the issues related to biosecurity within the context of their own agencies.

Gov. David Ige says “this plan will provide a 10-year framework to prevent invasive species from entering our borders, detect them once they have entered the state, and better manage the established invasive species that are already within our state.”

Invasive species impacts the state’s $600 million agricultural industry through crop damage and costly mitigation measures. Stinging ants, biting snakes, and other pests also pose a concern to the $14.9 billion tourism industry.

The scope of the plan addresses all three biosecurity areas including pre-border (for example, agreements on handling and treatment of products before they enter the state), border (for example, inspection authorities and technologies), and post-border (for example, tools and capacity for response after invasive species have become established).

“We have to be smarter in using state resources by working together and collaborating across and within their agencies. We just don’t have the financial and human resources to do it by ourselves, the problem is much greater than just a Department of Agriculture issue,” said Scott Enright, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “This plan gives us the framework or path to better address and manage the problems of invasive species.”

“Our environment, our food, and our people are all interconnected,” said Suzanne Case, chairperson of the Department of Land and Natural Resources. “Using a cross-sector approach is the best way we can work to protect Hawaii.”

To view the Hawaii Interagency Biosecurity Plan, click here.

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