HONOLULU — The state has proposed a $39 million per year biosecurity plan to be implemented over the next decade that seeks to bolster its fight against invasive species.

The plan unveiled at a news conference Wednesday outlines ways to combat invasive species in Hawaii and prevent new ones from reaching the islands. The state Department of Agriculture spent the last year creating the proposal with help from state, federal and county agencies, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported (http://bit.ly/2co8tMR).

Much of the Hawaii Interagency Biosecurity Plan focuses on measures to ensure invasive species aren’t brought to Hawaii from other parts of the world. The plan calls for new technology to help officials determine which shipments coming into the state are more likely to have invasive species and suggests the creation of new inspection facilities.

It also covers “pre-border” measures to reduce the likelihood of new species reaching Hawaii, border inspections and quarantines to detect new arrivals and “post-border” actions against the species that are already in the state.

Scott Enright, director of the agriculture department, said Hawaii is “at great risk for invasive species” because it imports between 80 percent and 90 percent of its goods.

Under the plan, the state Vector Control Branch would hire more workers to fill positions that have been lost to budget cuts. The current Hawaii Invasive Species Council would also be morphed into an Invasive Species Authority that would work to coordinate interagency efforts and address the matter with greater resources.

“We know that our beautiful forests and our marine environment can get significantly compromised and even destroyed by invasive species that get out of hand,” said Suzanne Case, chairwoman of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The plan is scheduled for public hearings next month.


This story has been corrected to show that the program is $39 million per year, not total


Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com