Officials from the GB Non-native Species Secretariat (NNSS), part of the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), visited Montserrat as a follow up to the assistance previously provided to strengthen the island’s capacity to improve biosecurity.
Head of GB Non-native Species Secretariat, Dr. Niall Moore and UK Overseas Territories Biosecurity Project Officer, Mr. James Millett visited the island as part of an ongoing programme to help improve biosecurity protocols on island.
The NNSS have been implementing the UKOTs Biosecurity Project, which helps UKOT governments and organizations strengthen biosecurity and management of invasive non-native species. The UK Government, including Official Development Aid (ODA), funds the work.
For Montserrat, this assistance includes:
• The production of contingency plans for invasive red fire ants and increased awareness to prevent species such as the Giant African Land Snail from arriving on the island.
• Training in Pest Risk Assessments for imports that may pose a biosecurity risk
• Providing technical support to review and revise biosecurity legislation
• Provision of much needed equipment to assist with biosecurity surveillance and quarantine at ports of entry.
The project also works closely with FERA to provide a free pest identification service for the UKOTs.
Dr. Moore stated that Montserrat has a unique environment, which like most islands, is under serious threat from invasive species of plants and animals. It is vital to protect the environment and agriculture from the arrival of even more invasive species. Improving biosecurity is the best way of achieving this.
While Mr. Millett noted that “Montserrat has made great progress in the management of non-native species exemplified by the success of the feral animal management programme, however reducing the risk of new potentially invasive species arriving on the island is key to protecting biodiversity and agriculture”.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Lands Housing and the Environment is very appreciative of the assistance with improving livelihoods through food security and native species health.
The UK’s Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) works to safeguard animal and plant health for the benefit of people, the environment and the economy. It is an executive agency, sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, the Welsh Government, and The Scottish Government.
It is responsible for identifying and controlling endemic and exotic diseases and pests in animals, plants and bees, and surveillance of new and emerging pests and diseases, and acts as an international reference laboratory for many overseas territories.