At-border biosecurity

Control at the border involves inspection of incoming goods (including checks of declarations) and passengers and post-entry quarantine.

Border inspection of incoming goods and passengers

Ideally, all incoming goods including those brought in via a passenger pathway should be inspected by trained biosecurity / quarantine officers in a designated clean area.

However, in situations where the volume of incoming goods is high, it may become necessary for a sub sample from each consignment to be checked. For a few resources and tools, required to undertake border inspections and post-entry quarantine checks, check out the Pacific Invasive Ant Toolkit Border Inspection Resources.

Minimum sampling protocols should be devised to reduce the chances of pests and diseases being overlooked. These protocols are usually designed and undertaken by the exporter, and should give the importer 95% confidence that the consignment has been checked and is below the importing country’s specified maximum pest limit (usually 0.5% of a consignment).

  border inspection
Incoming goods brought in via a passenger pathway should be inspected by trained biosecurity / quarantine officers (© Carolina K Smith MD/shutterstock)
Biosecurity Amnesty Bins should be installed at each entry point (© PIAT / Kiribati MELAD)
  Biosecurity Amnesty Bins should be installed at each entry point, and well signposted. These bins should be checked after each arrival and the contents checked and disposed of in a way that any risk species / diseases are destroyed.

Any pest or disease detected must be reported immediately and the action advised by the in-country biosecurity team such as fumigation, cleaning, destruction or reshipping should be carried out as soon as possible.

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Biosecurity / Quarantine declarations (arrival cards)

fiji card
Fiji passenger arrival card
  Arrival cards are an effective way to ensure that passengers meet biosecurity regulations.

They do rely on people's honesty, and sometimes, unfortunately, this is not certain. So it is important that even though forms have been filled in baggage still needs to be checked (this is particularly important if arrival cards have not been well handled in the past).

It is also important to check items if people have declared them.

To be effective, the breach of regulations does need to be addressed in some way, if not with a fine, at least with confiscation and a warning.

The effective use of arrival cards can greatly increase awareness of the importance of biosecurity.

Awareness can also be increased by having posters and other materials available at the border.

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Post-entry quarantine (PEQ)

International Guidelines for transfer of coconut germplasm should be referred to for quarantine information. Typically PEQ is used to test for fungal and viral disease or stem burrowing larvae that might not immediately present symptoms in nursery stock and seed imports.  

Although in some places regulations assume that detection of pests and diseases usually occurs during border inspections, and PeQ is therefore not required, this is perhaps a less cautious approach than desirable. Also, post-border transportation of some commodities is desirable.

Information sources and further reading 

COGENT. 2018. Darwin Initiative "Upgrading and broadening the new South-Pacific International Coconut Genebank". [ONLINE]

EPPO. 2018. EPPO Global Database. [ONLINE]

Faleiro et al. 2016. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) of Palm Pests. Integrated Pest Management in the Tropics, pp. 439-497

FAO. 2018. Adopted Standards (ISPMs). [ONLINE]

Frison, Putter, Diekmann. 1993. FAO/IBPGR Technical Guidelines for the Safe Movement of Coconut Germplasm. FAO and IBPGR, p.1-48.

PIAT. 2018. The Pacific Invasive Ant Toolkit: preventing ant problems. [ONLINE]

World Trade Organisation. 1998. Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures ("SPS Agreement"). [ONLINE]