Successes in bio-security highlighted in committee meeting


16-July-2012

Minister Sinon addressing delegates at the meeting

The first meeting of the committee for this year was held at Care House and is the fifth meeting held since the committee was set up in June 2010.

Mandated as a consultative body, the committee provides policy and technical guidance to relevant agencies dealing with bio-security.
 
At the recent meeting, achievements in bio-security that were highlighted included the purchase, installation and commissioning of two X-ray screening machines at the airport, refurbishment of the Seychelles Agriculture Agency’s national plant protection office’s operations office at Port Victoria, the invasive alien species strategy and broad bio-security policy that was approved by the cabinet of ministers.

Also mentioned were the introduction of a new passenger disembarkation card, which now includes bio-security questions, and the development of the bio-security operations manual and training of relevant officers from various related agencies.

Present for the meeting were the Minister for Natural Resources and Industry Peter Sinon, his principal secretary Michel Nalletamby and principal secretary for environment and energy Wills Agricole.

Minister Sinon, who officially opened the workshop, said that with increased globalisation, opening of markets and advancement in air and sea transportation, Seychelles no longer exists in isolation.

“We must not only abide by international obligations and norms but protect our people and environment from harmful and hazardous biological elements,” he said.

“Increased openness and trade means amplified risks of introduction of undesirable pests, diseases and invasive alien species in our oceans and to our shores. Those can be disastrous for agriculture, fisheries, biodiversity of our pristine environment and thus our tourism industry, thus the very bedrock of our economy.”

Minister Sinon said the effects and damages caused by the spread of invasive species within our islands, such as the white fly, Takamaka wilt and recently the eggplant stem borer, made prevention all the more important, especially since they are so costly to eliminate.

Among the topics discussed during the meeting were a presentation on the sanitary and phytosanitary measures, updates on the new X-ray machines and disembarkation card, interaction with protection area and law, and presentations on current work and projects.

An appeal was also made by Minister Sinon for all stakeholders and the population at large to come on board and provide their support to the committee and its work, so that it may better guarantee the health and safety of our animals, plants and population.

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