Location: Crop Protection and Management Research
Title: "Is post hoc development of risk management in weed biocontrol too late? Lessons learned from Cactoblastis cactorum" Authors
Submitted to: International Symposium on Biological Control of Weeds
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 19, 2011
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Cactoblastis cactorum is renowned for its success as a biological control agent against exotic Opuntia spp. in many locations including Australia, South Africa and Hawaii. However, in 1957, its introduction into the Caribbean to control native Opuntia spp. ultimately resulted in its arrival to southern Florida where it became an invasive pest of native and rare Opuntia species and a threat to the Opuntia-rich areas of the western U.S. and Mexico. To mitigate this risk, survey and control tactics were developed in the U.S. and an awareness campaign was initiated in Mexico. A Bi-National Cactus Moth Control Program was established to facilitate risk management, which involved identifying, evaluating, selecting and implementing actions to prevent, reduce or control adverse effects of C. cactorum. The risk management process included comparing the risks of taking no action with the risks associated with each remedial alternative, while taking into account social, cultural, ethical, economic, political, and legal considerations. Although these risk management activities were undertaken after the initial release of C. cactorum, management tactics were available and used successfully to eradicate this pest when there was an incursion in Mexico. Efforts remain ongoing in the U.S. where the westward expansion of C. cactorum has been mitigated through regulatory and control actions. The lessons learned from C. cactorum in North America underscore the need to have regional involvement in the risk analysis process and in the development of risk management prior to the release of a weed biocontrol agent.