Wednesday, April 03, 2013

March 2013 Asian Gypsy Moth Updates and Shipping Requirements

March 2013

Asian gypsy moth (AGM) is a serious pest that can be carried on the superstructure of ships and cargo. AGM populations are prevalent in some seaport areas in Far East Russia, Japan, Korea, and Northern China. If introduced, AGM would pose a significant risk to the North American plant resource base, businesses that rely on plant resources, and to market access. Vessels must arrive to North American ports with required pre-departure certification and free of AGM. It is vital that the maritime industry and the United States (U.S.) and Canadian authorities collaborate on measures to minimize the risk of AGM incursion. Although the agricultural agencies of the U.S. and Canada are independent and have variances in their laws, AGM risk mitigation and exclusion efforts are a joint effort and considered a high priority.

In 2012, United States and Canadian authorities intercepted a large number of vessels with AGM egg masses on the superstructures of ships and cargo. Many vessels arriving to North America with AGM life stages present resulted in those vessels being ordered into international waters to mitigate risk of introduction. In all cases of vessels arriving without the required AGM certification, or upon detection of AGM, significant delays in cargo loading or discharging activities as well as in routine clearance can occur, resulting in loss of revenue to the shipping line and associated parties. When these events occur, the vessels are unable to conduct cargo operations, miss cargo charters, and experience significant schedule delays.

In 2012, it was reported that high numbers of AGM adults were flying in some port areas at the time of pre-departure inspections. Inspection certificates indicated large numbers of egg masses had been removed and some ship crews reported removing hundreds of egg masses post-certification. Upon arrival in North America, there were detections on vessels that had obtained pre-departure certification. In some cases, certification was found to have been issued many days prior to ship departure from an area regulated for AGM, allowing for re-infestation. Therefore, it is important that inspection and certification be conducted as close to time of departure as feasible. It is also of vital importance that a ship’s crew ensures freedom from AGM by conducting inspection of the ship superstructure while en route to North America and removing and destroying all life stages of AGM detected.

The shipping industry has markedly enhanced awareness of necessary quarantine compliance for AGM. This has been vital to maintaining shipping schedules. Both countries are committed to working with industry partners to support measures that will reduce AGM risk at origin. U.S. and Canadian officials seek increased collaboration with shipping lines, agents, and associations in order to mitigate the risk of introduction of AGM while minimizing impacts on trade.

Please See Attachment for the rest of this AGM update (including a table on Actions taken).


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