A CABI-led initiative aimed at helping to reduce the risks of Invasive Alien Species (IAS) further blighting Barbados and Other Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) has been approved for adoption across the Caribbean as part of a wider plan to encourage travellers to self-declare items that may pose a biosecurity risk.
The Caribbean Biosecurity Interceptions System (CBIS) – a database for interceptions at ports of entry – has been approved at the 14th annual meeting of the Caribbean Plant Health Directors (CPHD) – to help reduce the risks posed by IAS to native species such as the Barbados leaf toe geckoIt is hoped that with the strong endorsement by the CPHD that countries in the region will begin adopting the system soonest.
Once implemented by countries in the region CBIS will help meet strict global best practices at ports of entry including International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures that outline procedures for the inspections of plants, plant products and other regulated articles at import and export.
The CBIS – which stems from work within the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Trust Fund project ‘Preventing COSTS of Invasive Alien Species (IAS) in Barbados and the OECS Countries’ – will be followed by a pilot ‘Declare, Dispose or Be Fined’ campaign aimed at travellers and due for implementation in 2022.
Naitram Ramnanan, CABI’s Regional Representative, Caribbean, said, “Barbados and OECS countries are some of the world’s most beautiful places – rich in natural flora and fauna but face considerable environmental challenges due to IAS of numerous kinds.
“The implementation of the Caribbean Biosecurity Interceptions System is a valuable tool in the early detection, control and management of IAS and will bring the Caribbean’s online systems for Sanitary and Phytosanitary Systems up to the same specification as those enjoyed in the likes of EU countries, the USA and elsewhere.”
Mr Ramnanan added that traditional physical log book documentation is no longer fit for purpose as these may be responsible for many deficiencies such as loss of data, limited accessibility and the need for excessive file storage and organization.
The CBIS will allow for various reporting to take place including the date and frequency of interceptions and the number and type of pest or disease at various ports of entry.
“The CBIS allows for communication between plant quarantine and customs officers and can even notify people on the ground immediately of any pest alerts within the region,” Mr Ramnanan said. “The information gained could also provide indirect evidence of the existence of a pest or disease in the country of origin as a basis of discussing trade issues in both the OECS and the wider Caribbean.”
As part of project’s participating countries commitment to the Convention on Biological Diversity and their cooperation with the ‘Preventing COSTS of Invasive Alien Species (IAS) in Barbados and the OECS Countries’ project, these countries have various programmes in place which focus on the prevention, control and management of IAS.
These programmes include the establishment of a Bio-secure Area for Conservation of Leaf-toed Gecko, Control of IAS within key Gully Ecosystems and Rat and Mongoose Control at Sea Turtle Nesting Beaches.
Main photo: The African velvet monkey is just one Invasive Alien Species in Barbados and the OECS, among others, which also include small Asian mongooses and cane toad (Credit: Pixabay).
You can find out more about the ‘Preventing COSTS of Invasive Alien Species (IAS) in Barbados and the OECS Countries’ here.
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