Hawai‘i’s Biosecurity Plan Finalized
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 endeavored to address and manage the issues related to biosecurity within the context of their own agencies.
“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 the state’s $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,” stressed 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.