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Regional inspectors get invasive species training

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by Jolene Toves

Guam - Combating invasive species is a team effort, one that our neighboring islands are helping to fight.   Quarantine inspectors from throughout the region are undergoing training in Guam in order to keep invasive species out. Department of Agriculture entomologist Russell Campbell said, "We initially designed so that it would be able to bring together the various people involved with agriculture, quarantine throughout the region."

Campbell says inspectors from Guam, Palau, the CNMI, the Marshal Islands and the FSM will receive fundamental training from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, University of Guam scientists and other key stakeholders. "It assists the inspectors to get to know each other and have a basis upon which to conduct their inspection whenever they go back to their jobs," he said.

Campbell says the cooperation and communication between quarantine inspectors throughout the region in addition to them knowing what to inspect and how to inspect it helps to improve efforts to keep invasive species out. "If there's a pest that turns up for example in one of the other island jurisdictions we will know about it right away if something turns up here they will know about it right away and we all know who to contact and who to talk to and we can work together to keep it from moving around," he said.

And while efforts to keep our island's borders safe are underway Campbell says lack of resources makes it difficult. "Really the thing that are all limited by is resources so every jurisdiction is limited by the numbers of inspectors that they have the amount of effort that can be placed on inspecting the various things," he said.

He adds that the increase in air cargo and passenger travel provides a greater opportunity for invasive species to move around. This training seminar is just one of the ways to combat this risk and to try and improve the cooperation and training of everyone involved.

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