Submitted to: Journal of Applied Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/20/2007
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Biological control of pests and weeds has a long history of success in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the USA. These countries have historically been the recipient of immigrant pests and weeds and have responded by developing and implementing biological control strategies. These countries have also taken the lead in the development of the regulations to safeguard the use of biological control. In this paper, the regulations for these four countries are reviewed and recommendations for similar regulations are discussed for the European Union (EU). Three of the authors (Goolsby, Mason and Flanders) serve as representatives to the North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO), Biological Control Panel from their respective governmental agencies. NAPPO’s role is to harmonize regulations for biological control between Mexico, Canada, and the USA and therefore serves as a model for development of similar regulations for the EU.
Technical Abstract: Countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the USA have established regulation for the import and release of exotic invertebrate biological control agents (IBCAs). The importance of IBCA specificity for the safety of biological control programmes was recognized during the relatively early years of biological control implementation in these countries. Furthermore, as the practice of exotic IBCA import and release became more widely adopted, assessments to ensure specificity of exotic IBCAs began to be developed and implemented. Australia was one of the first countries to implement some form of legislation and risk assessment for exotic IBCAs when it introduced its Quarantine Act of 1908. Specificity testing for exotic IBCAs of arthropod pests has lagged behind that of weed IBCAs because of the comparatively low number of economically important invertebrates and the traditional lack of concern for non-target effects on invertebrates. Only relatively recently was the biological community faced with criticism regarding the potential threat of exotic entomophagous IBCAs especially to native beneficial and endangered invertebrate species and to biodiversity. As such, similar legislation for the purpose of regulating entomophagous IBCAs was implemented in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the USA within the last ten years, under the same legislation and procedures as for weed IBCAs. The regulations for biological control of pests and weeds for these four countries are reviewed and guidelines for implementation of regulations for the European Union are discussed.