Case and Tokuda Introduce Measure To Combat Invasive Species in Hawai‘i
The bill would require inspection of cargo and baggage before arrival in the islands
Washington, DC, April 28, 2023
(Washington, DC) - Congressman Ed Case (HI-01), and Congresswoman Jill Tokuda (HI-02) announced the introduction of their Hawai’i Invasive Species Protection Act, a bill to require that baggage and cargo transporting into the State of Hawai‘i by air or sea be pre-inspected for invasive species and high-risk agricultural materials, in the same manner as similar baggage and cargo transported to the U.S. mainland must be inspected pre-departure.
“Invasive species pose an especially grave threat to Hawaii’s unique ecosystems, natural resources, and agricultural communities, in part due to Hawaii’s unique geography,” said Rep. Ed Case. “Hawai‘i is the most isolated island chain and one of the most ecologically diverse places in the world.
“However, tragically, in large part due to invasive species, Hawai‘i has become the endangered species and extinction capital of the world. The Pacific Islands are home to 44% of the threatened and endangered species listed under the Endangered Species Act, and Hawai‘i currently has 468 species listed as endangered, more than any other state and almost half of the total endangered species nationwide.”
Case continued: “Many of these species are critically endangered and face an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild. Although we will never know the true number of species that have gone extinct in Hawai‘i, in 2021 alone nine Hawaiian species were declared extinct.”
“We’re losing the war against invasive pests and diseases in Hawai‘i, and our farmers and producers are paying the price. Every year more invasive pests and diseases enter and establish themselves in our state, and there are fewer resources for control and management. It’s hard enough to put food on our tables and shelves, and these threats to agriculture further threaten food security in Hawaiʻi,” said Rep. Jill Tokuda.
“This bill is a needed first step to turn the tide on invasives by providing federal resources to prevent invasive species from even reaching Hawai‘i. I look forward to continuing to fight for increased biosecurity in Hawai‘i in the 2023 Farm Bill.”
“Our bill, the Hawai‘i Invasive Species Protection Act, will require the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Inspection Service (APHIS), in cooperation with other federal departments and the State of Hawai‘i, to conduct visual, x-ray and canine inspections, as appropriate, on person, baggage, cargo and any other article destined for direct movement to the State of Hawai‘i,” said Case.
“The inspections will search for high-risk invasive species and agricultural materials. The inspections will be conducted at airports, ports, and postal sorting facilities prior to direct travel to the State of Hawai‘i.
“Our bill further requires APHIS to work with the State of Hawai‘i to develop and publish a list of the high-risk invasive species and agricultural materials for the State of Hawai‘i. It pays for these inspections by increasing Agriculture Quarantine Inspection fees to cover the full cost of inspection.”
· Case full House remarks on the introduction of the bill
· Picture of coffee berry borer, courtesy Hawai‘i State Department of Agriculture