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Web alert: Asian Gypsy Moths - 2015 recap

21 May 2015

Once again it is time for the mariner to consider the Asian Gypsy moth (AGM) in order to avoid any undue complications with the port states which require action to be taken. Whilst the AGM season occurs every year, 2015’s AGM season differs slightly from previous years due to new requirements in North America and a different approach to the problem in Australia.

Canada and America
A joint statement by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and United States Department of Agriculture states that in 2014 the US and Canadian authorities made several discoveries of AGM egg masses. Vessels which fell into this category or which arrived in the US / Canada without the required certification suffered significant delays to their trading activities. Several of the AGM discoveries were made on vessels which were in possession of the proper AGM certification, indicating that the inspection routine had been ineffective prior to departure.  Masters should be aware that if an inspection is done too far from the date of departure the vessel can become re-infested in the meantime.

The notice does acknowledge the heightened awareness of the issue of AGM, but goes on to list a number of actions which vessels must take during AGM risk periods if they intend to visit Canadian or US ports, which include:

  1. Inspection: Vessels must be inspected and be in possession of recognised pre-departure certification
  2. Freedom from AGM: Vessels must arrive at North American ports ‘free’ from AGM infestation to avoid significant disruption to their trading activities
  3. Port of call data: Vessels must provide 2 years of ‘port of call data’ at least 96 hours prior to arrival at a North American port. 

Full details of the US / Canadian position and AGM risk periods maybe found in the attached document.

In April, the Australian Department of Agriculture announced the launch of a new trial for the management of AGM for vessels arriving at Australian ports. This trial commenced in April and will continue until 31 May 2015. The trial will focus on gathering data about high risk vessels. It is the intention of the Department of Agriculture that the information collected during the trial be used to move to a more targeted AGM inspection regime. The trial will take place at a number of designated ports (for a full list of ports, see Department of Agriculture, Notice to Industry 18/2015).

A high risk vessel has been defined by the Department of Agriculture as one which has:

  1. been exposed to AGM egg laying;
  2. most likely satisfied diapause (overwintering) conditions to trigger hatching - through exposure of egg masses to favourable climatic conditions in the vessel’s subsequent itinerary/voyages (after egg laying exposure); and 
  3. identified one of the designated ports as its first port of call in Australia

We would like to remind our members of our previous publication about AGM which can be found on our website.