HONOLULU — The Plant Quarantine Branch of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) has established policies and procedures to help minimize the impact of a federal quarantine on Hawaii’s major potted plant exporters. The U.S. Department of Agriculture placed a quarantine order on Hawaii and parts of California on May 2, due to the detection of the light brown apple moth (LBAM) in several California counties.
In anticipation of problems that Hawaii plant shippers would have with the federal quarantine order, Plant Quarantine staff today completed an emergency protocol that would provide additional inspection documents specifically for LBAM for potted plants leaving the state.
Although USDA officials in Hawaii do not foresee problems in plants departing Hawaii due to previously established inspection requirements, HDOA anticipated that individual Mainland states could hold or reject Hawaii plants due to the moth quarantine order.
Subsequently, HDOA was informed late yesterday by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) that beginning May 9, California will require all plant shipments from Hawaii be accompanied by an inspection document stating that the shipment is free of LBAM. This requirement may have a substantial impact on about 300 of Hawaii’s major plant exporters that were previously able to have their nurseries and farms certified by HDOA every six months, allowing them to ship their products without further inspection. California’s restrictions are of particular concern because a major portion of plant exports are shipped to or through that state.
“The additional inspection requirements require more coordination especially with high-volume shippers,” said Domingo Cravalho, Jr., Plant Quarantine Import & Compliance Section Chief. “Our staff of inspectors will be doing their best to complete the additional inspections as efficiently and timely as possible.”
Although California will allow shipment of potted plants without special inspection documentation until May 9, HDOA offices statewide are prepared to provide the inspection documents effective immediately.
HDOA Plant Quarantine and Plant Pest Control staff will also begin to survey major agricultural areas for LBAM so that population density data can be submitted to USDA. The data will be used to help reassess LBAM quarantine areas and hopefully decrease adverse impacts of the quarantine on Hawaii plant exporters.
LBAM is native to Australia and is also found in New Zealand, Tanzania, Ireland and the UK. It is a major pest of apples, pears, grapes, cherries, citrus and stone fruits (peaches, plums, nectarines, and apricots). It was first detected in Hawaii more than a century ago, in 1896, but has not been a significant pest in Hawaii.
Link to USDA news release: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom/content/2007/05/lbam.shtml
Link to HDOA’s previous news releases: http://www.hawaii.gov/hdoa/meetings_reports/news-releases/2007-news-releases/