Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/7/2011
Publication Date: 12/1/2011
Citation: Rector, B.G. 2011. Regulatory approval for weed biocontrol agents in the U.S. - A scientist's perspective [abstract]. Western Weed Coordinating Committee. http://www.weedcenter.org/wwcc/.
Technical Abstract: The importation of weed biological control agents (BCAs) is regulated by USDA-APHIS-PPQ with consultation from the Technical Advisory Group for Biological Control Agents of Weeds and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Preparing candidate BCAs for consideration for importation is the responsibility of researchers, mostly from state or federal agencies or universities. For this presentation, researchers who have submitted candidate agents were interviewed, along with APHIS-PPQ regulators, to gain insight into their views of the strengths and weaknesses of the current regulatory procedure and to identify areas of potential improvement. In general, the procedure is viewed as viable, albeit excessively time-consuming. Difference of opinion between researchers and regulators was most pronounced on the subject of the use of cost-benefit analyses (CBAs) to assess the relative merits of proposed BCA releases. Researchers believed that case studies of past releases support the use of CBAs in that they were useful in assessing BCAs that displayed minor non-target damage in pre-release testing. Regulators currently reject the use of CBAs as too time-consuming, expensive, and imprecise in the prediction of post-release non-target attack.