BY LYNTON AARON FILIA
SHIP owners are the latest partners in the national campaign against the coconut rhinoceros beetle.
The ship-owners join the national government and the Palm industry CRB taskforce.
Yesterday, ship owners, boat and canoe owners and farmers met with government and taskforce representatives to discuss the next steps forward.
The Government and Palm Industries CRB Taskforce mandate by Bio-security Solomon Islands (BSI) explained that the insect also travels on board boats, canoes and ships.
The beetle is attracted to bright lights, hence it is risky to leave Honiara during night time with lights blaring, as this will attract nearby beetles to settle on the lights, thus is transported out of Honiara to wherever the ship is destined.
Other possible areas include; transportation of chicken manure, sawdust, soil and cargoes especially when traveling during night hours.
With this, ship owners suggest the BSI sets up regulations which allow ships to leave Honiara only before dusk.
Participants also suggested further trainings and workshops conducted with captains, crews and loggers as well.
Meanwhile, BSI’s strategy at this stage is 1,500 stickers, videos and posters to educate captains, crews and passengers, which it is preparing to distribute out soon.
Director for Bio-security, Mr Francis Tsatsia said the taskforce will continue to dialogue with ship owners to work on ways that can stop coconut rhino beetles reaching other provinces.
He said there is no other way for rhino’s movement, it’s only by ship or boat.
Yesterday’s meeting basically aim for local ship owners and farmers to come up with effective voluntary methods.
The BSI now considers imposing legal restrictions on what cargoes can be carried and perhaps imposing fines on boat owners who carry beetles, even accidentally.
BSI also discussed with ship owners and farmers voluntary procedures that captains and crew can use to look for hitchhiking beetles and kill them.