INNOVATION IS VITAL: BIOSECURITY WEEK 2018
Category: National. Posted: 23 July 2018
The Institute today launched Biosecurity Week, a week of activities nationwide in which those working in the biosecurity sector highlight their work to their communities.
The week is aligned with the Institute’s National Education and Training Seminars (NETS) which are being hosted in Nelson this week.
Institute President Darion Embling said the theme of Biosecurity Week and the seminars this year is “Shining a Light on Innovation”.
“It’s clear that continual innovation will make pest control more affordable and biosecurity goals more achievable.”
Mr Embling said tried-and-true ways of controlling the nation’s animal and plant pests and other invasive organisms have worked well, but New Zealand now has some very ambitious biosecurity goals which will need new technology and innovation to achieve them.
“Among key innovations are the use of aerial surveillance, thermal imaging, and remote monitoring as vital components of plant and animal pest control activities.
“Innovation doesn’t just mean technology it is also making newer uses of tried-and-true practices. One example is the use of dogs to detect weeds as well as hard-to-locate animal pests.
“Every day we are being amazed by how dogs can be trained to sniff out new things. Dogs have historically been useful for border control but are also capable of finding individual weeds in a pasture.”
Another innovation is the way the biosecurity sector is working with communities.
“It’s vital to get people on side and there are a number of community programmes across the country using new approaches which are having considerable success at controlling pests in backyards,” Mr Embling said.
The NZ Biosecurity Institute is the professional training and networking organisation for people involved in all aspects of biosecurity including pest animal and plant management, and border control. Its members work for research organisations, educational institutions, regional councils, government departments and private organisations. All are involved in protecting NZ from invasive species.
Mr Embling said every year Institute members spend hundreds of hours controlling or managing the risks to the economy and the environment of the effects of introduced pests.
“This is work which costs the country hundreds of millions of dollars each year through control, research and border control budgets. This money is coming out of all New Zealanders’ pockets,” he said.