RADIO NZ – 7:23 am on 29 September 2020
The Vanuatu Biosecurity Department is calling on ship owners to adjust their schedules, so ships depart Port Vila harbour before dark.
The Assistant Plant Health Officer, Bill Garae, made the urgent call as Biosecurity Vanuatu confirmed the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle pest has reached Port Vila.
Garae said authorities face a real struggle trying to ensure the pest doesn’t spread around the country.
He said ships leaving Port Vila at night will more easily spread the beetle to other islands of Vanuatu.
He has also called on residents in the capital to clean their backyards and destroy possible breeding sites for the beetle.
The Vanuatu government and donor partners spent millions last year trying to destroy beetle breeding sites in Mangaliliu village on Efate.
The Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle is a major threat to the country’s coconut industry.