Shiploads of BMSB sent packing
KVH has publicly congratulated the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) for taking the right action in turning back ships that have arrived at our ports carrying hundreds of unwanted pests.
Early last week MPI turned around three large cargo vessels because one of the most damaging pests to the kiwifruit and wider horticultural industries - the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) – was found hitchhiking on the ships and in used vehicles onboard, along with several Yellow Spotted Stink Bugs (YSSB) which would have similar impacts.
A fourth ship has also voluntarily redirected.
As we all know, the BMSB is a pest that could destroy New Zealand’s fruit and vegetable industries, infest homes and ruin gardens. It’s not in New Zealand yet and we want to keep it that way.
KVH is pleased with the ongoing diligence of MPI to detect these stink bugs at the border and we fully support the serious steps they have been taking to manage the risk of them getting here, including these recent cases of requiring treatment to take place offshore before allowing high-risk ships and cargo to return and unload goods.
The decisions may not always be popular with those importing goods, but the rules are very clear, and they are stringent for a reason. Unwanted pests like BMSB could cause hundreds of millions of dollars damage to the New Zealand economy and heavily affect growers’ livelihoods if they were to establish.
Representatives for the vehicle importing industry are taking the issue seriously and should be credited for the way they are co-operating with government as part of a group set up to urgently address the problem. The Chief Executive of the Imported Motor Vehicle Industry Association has contacted KVH, 100% behind the position we have taken with this biosecurity risk, and like us wants to make sure a sustainable solution is put in place that addresses the problem offshore.
To that end, on Tuesday MPI announced that from now on all used vehicles will have to be cleaned and inspected for BMSB at an MPI-approved facility in Japan before export. Most already do, but this change makes it compulsory. MPI has also used fogging of the ship with insecticide to flush out any insects out of confined spaces. KVH will keep growers informed as conversations around the matter continue.
You can also read more detail about the first ship turned away from the Port of Auckland, and exactly how MPI teams found and managed the BMSB they found here.