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    December 2018
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State of Hawaii Ready to Implement Hawaii Interagency Biosecurity Plan

The State of Hawai‘i, in a broad coalition of stakeholders led by the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Land and Natural Resources, has finalized the State’s first interagency and comprehensive biosecurity plan to protect Hawai‘i’s agriculture, environment, economy and health. In the past, individual federal, state, and local agencies have tried their best to address and manage the issues related to biosecurity within the context of their own agencies.

Click to read the plan

“The State of Hawai‘i now has a coordinated comprehensive plan to tackle the threats and harms from invasive species,” said Gov. David Ige. “I’m proud to announce that over the last year, several of my key state agencies have been working together with public and private stakeholders to develop the first Interagency Biosecurity Plan. 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.”

The threats of invasive species are real and threaten our way of life. The Islands are home to more endangered species than any other state. These invasive species threaten Hawai‘i’s economy and natural environment and the health and lifestyle of its people and visitors. They replace native ecosystems, diminish fresh water quality and quantity, and increase disease and other human health concerns.

Invasive species have devastating impacts on our $600 million agricultural industry through crop damage and costly mitigation measures. Stinging ants, biting snakes, and other pests are also a threat to our $14.9 billion tourism industry.

The scope of the Hawai‘i Interagency Biosecurity 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). The benefit of a comprehensive interagency plan is that it facilitates actions and policies across a wide range of agencies and partners. The plan includes roughly 150 action items assigned to various agencies and stakeholders, with specific details on how and when to best implement each action.

“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,” emphasized Scott Enright, chairperson of the Hawai‘i Board of Agriculture. “This plan gives us the framework or path to better address and manage the problems of invasive species.”

“This is really an example of many hands working together to achieve the best outcome,” said Suzanne Case, chairperson of the Department of Land and Natural Resources. “Our environment, our food, and our people are all interconnected. Using a cross-sector approach is the best way we can work to protect Hawai‘i.”

The Hawai‘i Interagency Biosecurity Plan may be found on the HDOA website:

http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/blog/main/biosecurityplan/

Hawai’i Interagency Biosecurity Plan Formed to Protect Environment, Agriculture, Economy and Health

Hawai‘i is at an invasive species crossroads: the islands are home to more endangered species than any other state. Between 80-90% of all food is imported, and there are more than 8 million visitors annually, with hundreds of arriving flights and ships carrying cargo.

All images courtesy Hawaii DLNR

All images courtesy Hawaii DLNR

Residents of Hawai‘i know that its environment and way of life are special. Many of the native plants and animals exist nowhere else in the world, and the ability to grow food locally and be connected to the land is critical to maintaining an island identity. As invasive species continue to arrive in Hawai‘i and spread through the islands, the environment, agriculture, economy, and even human health are at risk.  Coqui frogs, fire ants, albizia, and mosquito-borne illnesses such as dengue fever and Zika virus provide recent examples of impacts to Hawai‘i.  Broad, comprehensive strategies are needed to protect our economy, environment and way of life.

“My administration has focused on doing the right thing the right way. Protecting Hawai‘i from the impacts of invasive species will require agencies and industries to work together to build a better biosecurity system,” said Gov. David Ige. “Our actions now will result in a more robust agriculture industry, protect our natural resources, our economy, and our unique way of life here in Hawai‘i.”

biosecurity-planaBetter biosecurity is Hawai‘i’s path forward from this invasive species crossroad. The term biosecurity encompasses the full set of policies and actions that minimize risk from invasive species. This means pre-border actions to prevent invasive species from reaching our shores, border inspections and quarantine to detect new arrivals, and post-border control for species that have made their way into the state.

biosecurity-planbThe State’s first line of defense against invasive species has always been the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, but in the 21st century we need partners,” said Scott Enright, Chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture.  “The threat of potential invasive species goes beyond HDOA’s mandate and this new interagency biosecurity plan will help the State focus on important priorities that will protect the environment and agriculture in Hawaii now and in the future.”

biosecurity-planc

The State of Hawai‘i developed its first comprehensive, interagency approach to biosecurity through the 2017-2027 Hawaii Interagency Biosecurity Plan. The intended scope of this plan is to address all three biosecurity areas (pre-border, border, and post-border) and to strategically coordinate actions across a wide range of agencies and partners. The planning process, led by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA), has joined the efforts of industry representatives and state, federal, and county agencies to identify policy, process, and infrastructure needs over the next decade. The plan is currently in draft form and awaits public review and input at a series of meetings across the state in early October.

biosecurity-plandIn Hawai‘i the concept of laulima is followed: many hands working together. The Hawai‘i Interagency Biosecurity Plan is a blueprint for conservationists, farmers, researchers, and private citizens to join together and help protect this special place. While the draft plan includes over 150 coordinated actions that would substantially enhance our biosecurity system, 10 key areas highlighted for improvements are listed below. :

1)      Off-shore compliance: Agreements with other jurisdictions to adopt pre-shipping inspection and control policies.

2)      E-manifest and intelligence gathering: Using new technology to track what’s coming in, what’s high-risk, and what’s low-risk (for faster release).

3)      Inspection facilities: Well-lit, secure areas for efficient inspections, refrigerated areas for produce.

4)      Inspection of non-agricultural items: HDOA has authority and staff to inspect high-risk non-agricultural items.

5)      Emergency response capacity: Interagency plans, protocols, and funding in place for timely and effective response to new pest incursions.

6)      Better coordination and participation by industries: Expand HISC into an Invasive Species Authority to provide industry a seat at the table and coordinate complex interagency efforts.

7)      Renewed focus on human health: A fully restored DOH Vector Control Branch to detect vectors of dengue, Zika, rat lungworm, and more.

8)      Enhanced control of established pests: Adequate field staff at HDOA, Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Department of Health (DOH), and the University of Hawai‘i (UH) to control established invasive species and improved laboratories to support effective biocontrol.

9)      Minimize interisland spread: Increased staff and inspections for interisland goods, support to local farms and nurseries via certification programs and import substitution programs.

10)   Engaged and supportive community: Targeted outreach to different stakeholder groups to increase awareness and engagement in biosecurity programs.