GB Non-native species secretariat starts workshop in Montserrat

GB Non-native species secretariat starts workshop in Montserrat

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Montserrat: Officials from the GB Non-native Species Secretariat and FERA Science UK Ltd. facilitated a Caribbean UK Overseas Territories workshop in Montserrat for Training on key invasive insect species that pose biosecurity risks in the Caribbean.

Accordingly, Montserrat has been hosting a training course in the identification and management of certain insect groups that pose a risk to biosecurity in the Caribbean region led by insect specialists from the UK. The course focuses on ants, mosquitoes and a certain type of fruit fly which all pose a variety of risks to human health, biodiversity and agriculture.

The Training gives a foundation for the identification of these important groups as well as modules on monitoring and practical management. The training course included eight agricultural staff and public health officers from all the Caribbean UKOTs of the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla and the Turks and Caicos Islands. It was attended by local staff from the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Health and the Montserrat National Trust.

The insect groups contain impactful species, which are easily transported to new countries in cargo, plant products and passenger baggage. Mosquitoes are often nuisance species, but some types can carry diseases, including Dengue, Tephrid fruit flys attack a range of fruit and vegetable crops and cause economic damage through loss of production, and there are several species of invasive ants in the Caribbean, which have a range of negative impacts, which range from harming biodiversity to health impacts from stings.

The work is a part of the UKOTs Biosecurity Initiative, which provides support to the UKOTs to strengthen biosecurity. The project is already working with the Government of Montserrat to strengthen biosecurity at Montserrat’s borders. The project has supplied equipment to the Ministry of Agriculture Lands Housing and the Environment to enhance border biosecurity, and biosecurity awareness materials are being produced for points of arrival.

The Training has been organised by the GB Non-Native Species Secretariat (GBNNSS), and is led by experts from Fera Science and has been convened in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture Lands Housing and the Environment and hosted by the Montserrat National Trust. The work is funded by the UK Government.