Duong Minh Tu*
The Government of Viet Nam has adopted the new revised text of the International Plant Protection Convention and its mandate for invasive species is discussed briefly. Two invasive species, golden apple snail and the khapra beetle, are described and national response to counter the threat of invasives is elaborated. Proposals to address the problem are suggested.
Viet Nam's commitment to conserve and protect biodiversity dates back well before the government ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 1994 and adopted a Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) in 1995. The declaration of the first national park in 1962, the National Conservation Strategy (1985) and the National Plan for Environment and Sustainable Development (1991) were the foundations for the development of the BAP (www.icem.com.au/bioplan/Viet Nam.pdf).
The Government of Viet Nam has adopted the new revised text of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC, Box 1). Facilitating trade in agricultural, forestry and fishery products at regional and international levels is accorded high priority to develop the country’s economy.
Box 1. The IPPC and invasive species
Securing common and effective action to prevent the spread and introduction of pests of plant and plant products, and to promote appropriate measures for their control
Pest: Any species, strain or biotype of plant, animal or pathogenic agent injurious to plants or plant products
Quarantine pest: A pest of potential economic importance to the area endangered thereby and not yet present there, or present but not widely distributed and being officially controlled
Introduction: The entry of a pest resulting in its establishment.
Establishment: Perpetuation, for the foreseeable future, of a pest within an area after entry
Phytosanitary measure: Any legislation, regulation or official procedure having the purpose to prevent the introduction and/or spread of pests
Coverage in terms of protection
Agricultural crops R Forest plants R Horticultural plants R Ornamental plants R Plant products R Wild flora R Biodiversity R
The golden apple snail was introduced to Viet Nam in 1998 through many pathways without undergoing quarantine. Since its introduction, the snail has been considered a rich source of protein for fish and ducks, thus its culture has been encouraged nationwide. In 1992, two snail farms were established in the country – one in Kien Giang Province, and the other in Ho Chi Minh City – as a joint venture between Taiwan and Viet Nam. The aim was to farm the snail on a large scale for export to Taiwan. Unfortunately, many snails escaped from the culture ponds and found their way into ponds, ditches and rice fields. When floods arrived, the snail spread more rapidly into the delta region of the Mekong River.
Ten years after its introduction, the apple snail has penetrated 57 of the 61 provinces of the country, and in 1997 it affected more than 132000 ha of rice fields, ponds, lakes and ditches.
The snail has had a major effect on rice crops and water morning glory as it has:
Khapra beetle is a very dangerous insect pest for stored commodities. It comes from India. More than 100 stored commodities are damaged by the beetle such as paddy, rice, cereals, peanut, dried fish and animal feed.
The beetle is introduced normally with imported products such as wheat flour, grain and animal feed. This insect has high tolerance to fumigants and is difficult to control as its larvae have periods of diapause.
The beetle is a quarantine pest of Viet Nam (Group I – not present [IPPC definition]). Annually, there are 20 - 30 consignments of imported commodities to Viet Nam, which are infested by khapra beetle and fumigated with high concentrations of methyl bromide (from 80 - 100 g/m3/24 or 48 h).
Information dissemination: Over the last three years the Department of Environment and the Department of Plant Protection, together with IUCN Viet Nam and other institutions, have organized workshops and issued many leaflets on invasive species.
Regulation of invasive species: Two years ago, the Department of Environment (Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment) submitted the Regulations on Invasive Species to the government for approval.
Quarantine: Importing organisms of general or invasive species should be consistent with the Ordinance on Plant Protection and Quarantine (revised 2001) and Regulations on Plant Quarantine (revised 2002).
The procedures for importing invasive species to Viet Nam are:
There is a substantial dearth of necessary information on invasive species. The long frontier with Lao PDR, Cambodia and China is difficult to monitor.
* Plant Protection Department, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Viet Nam