Our islands are on the verge of a biological crisis. This critical issue has fallen through the
cracks of agencies and donor partners in the Pacific region. Nowhere else on this planet is
the relationship between people and the environment more critical or apparent. Life on
an island teaches us that everything that affects our environment, affects us. Our very
existence is totally dependent on the resilience of the ecosystems that nurture and feed us.
Invasive species, (plants, diseases, insects and mammals) can completely change the very
functioning of our island ecosystems - destroying them forever for us, and our children.
Without immediate action, Pacific island communities risk becoming totally dependent on
imported food, commodities, housing and medicine. Invasive species cut across every major
issue facing our region; from climate change, ecosystem resilience, food security, cultural
integrity and our way of life. We risk the continued existence of our homes, our culture
and our children. Now is the time to act.
The impact of invasive species - whether already established or potential introductions,
requires a coordinated approach that does not stop at border security. An effective
strategy should address prevention, early detection, rapid response, ongoing management,
outreach and research needs. These issues need to be addressed at regional, national and
island scales. Invasive species are able to spread from location to location by hitching a
ride with cargo, personal possessions and even people. Preventing this spread is largely the
responsibility of the biosecurity or quarantine agencies of a country. However, the small
size of many invasive species makes them difficult to detect at the border. Additionally,
many Pacific island nations are made up of groups of islands and the political and cultural
boundaries of nations are not always aligned. These factors complicate biosecurity efforts,
making the movement of people and commodities between islands of the same jurisdiction
difficult to regulate.
This report highlights some of the most serious invasive species in the Pacific region,
focusing on an example from each of the six main groups: aquatic invasives, ants,
vertebrate pests, weeds and insect pests.