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Biosecurity experts join forces to protect NZ

Monday 28 June 2004

Biosecurity experts join forces to protect New Zealand

New Zealand’s place in global efforts to “stem the tide of invasive species” will be highlighted at a national biosecurity conference with an international flavour in Rotorua next month.

The New Zealand Biosecurity Institute and the Vertebrate Pest Management Institute of New Zealand, supported by Environment Bay of Plenty, have organised three days of talks, workshops and field trips from July 21 to 23.

With two biosecurity experts from Australia and another from the Ministry for the Environment in Japan, the event will have “some real global input”, says Lynley Hayes, President of the New Zealand Biosecurity Institute.

Mr Tetsuro Uesugi, Biodiversity Coordinator for Japan’s Ministry of the Environment, will outline the biosecurity threats facing Japan and new measures being introduced at a national level to address them. Other international speakers are Australia’s Dr Mark Lonsdale, chairman of the Global Invasive Species Programme and Sarah Russell from Australian Quarantine Inspection Services. They will be joined by Dr Mick Clout, the founding chair of the Invasive Species Specialist Group, which is based in Auckland but has a global focus.

The conference will also involve a range of New Zealand specialists, some of them considered world leaders in their particular fields.

The programme will look at international biosecurity issues and New Zealand’s role in the world, including the strengths and weaknesses of its biosecurity systems. Other topics include controlling the Himalayan thar, saltmarsh mosquito eradication, and invasive plant imports.

Government departments, regional councils, research institutes, private biosecurity providers, universities and community groups are usually represented at the annual education and training seminar. “It’s a chance for all those working in the field of biosecurity to network and share experiences and ideas,” Ms Hayes explains.

This year’s theme, Biosecurity for Biodiversity, looks at the core reason for all biosecurity work. “It’s all about biodiversity. That’s why we go to such efforts to keep new invasive alien species and organisms out of New Zealand - and why we continue to manage the ones already here. It’s because we want to protect the biodiversity of this amazing environment.”


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