A new book produced by the Chatham Islands Council and Environment Canterbury aims to highlight the key pests that threaten the Islands’ unique natural values and help people identify and stop the spread of pests.
The two councils have a one-of-a-kind relationship whereby Environment Canterbury, a regional council, is contracted to the district Chatham Islands Council to provide a range of services including biosecurity, resource management, emergency management, maritime safety and more.
Read the Chatham Islands Biosecurity: A Snapshot 2011 [PDF, 6.9 MB]
The new book includes:
- Details about the Councils’ extensive joint work programme to protect the Islands
- How border control is managed on the Islands, including the No Pests Please programme with SPS Biosecurity
- Recent pest incursions
- Photographs, descriptions and distribution maps of key pest plants and animals
- Details of special projects such as the ‘Gorse Free’ aerial spraying initiative with Mt Hutt Helicopters
- A copy of the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Marine Pest ID Guide as an appendix
The book also goes into great detail to raise awareness of the 27 target pests that are part of the Councils’ pest management programmes. For each of these, the book includes:
- Photographs to help identify the pest
- A written description of the pest including seasonal changes
- Details of its preferred habitat
- How it is spread
- The impact the pest has on the environment including native plants and animals
- A distribution map of the pest where possible
Biosecurity a priority for the Chatham Islands Council
This information will enable landowners, farmers and fisherman to identify and help stop the spread of these pests.
Environment Canterbury biosecurity advisor Steve Palmer says a huge amount of progress has been made in recent years to protect the Chatham Islands’ environment.
“We’re really lucky that the Chatham Islands Council has made biosecurity a priority, continuing to fund special projects such as the gorse contestable fund, where landowners have been able to apply for a share of $30,000 worth of gorse-killing chemical each year since 2012.”
“The support from the Chatham Islands Council has gone above and beyond what’s required by the Chatham Islands Pest Management Strategy, which guides all our work. This has allowed our team to make a real impact in the last seven years, both in the work we undertake on behalf of the Council, and increasing awareness and capacity of landowners to do their bit as well. Hopefully, this book will enable even more of this.”
The two main goals of the Chatham Islands Pest Management Strategy are:
- Surveillance and control of pests already on the Chatham Islands
- Border control to prevent news pest incursions
The Strategy is due for review in 2018, which is a welcome opportunity to update some sections that have become redundant. The book provides a good summary of biosecurity activities on the Islands over the last seven years, which will go a long way in informing the next version of the Strategy.
Steve hopes the book will also demonstrate the importance of protecting the Chatham Islands’ special environment.
“It’s really easy to introduce new pests to the Islands and can be incredibly challenging and expensive to eradicate them once they’ve arrived. All it takes is one infested barge arriving at the port, or one pot plant carried over on a plane where there could be anything in the soil. No matter the scale, one seemingly simple action could wreak havoc on the Islands.”
“If this book stops one new incursion, or prompts one person to change their practices to stop the spread of pests, then it’s a success.”