The Department of Biosecurity (DoB) has confirmed that the spread of the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (CRB) has now reached Port Vila.
CRB has been spotted at different areas in Port Vila such as Bladiniere and Tagabe last month, said Assistant Plant Health Entomologist Officer, Lee Howard.
Howard stressed the spread can increase in Port Vila and can rapidly spread to other islands through the movement of people and materials from Efate to other islands.
He said CRB can be easily transported by ships because. they are attracted to the ships’ lights including vehicles and planes at night.
Howard said CRB symptoms have been reported on some islands like Malekula, Santo and Pentecost.
However, he said surveillance and laboratory test have confirmed that the infestations are not CRB.
Principal Biosecurity Officer (PBO), Touasi Tiwok, said they are preparing a paper that will carry recommendations to contain the CRB infestation such as tightening internal quarantine. This will be presented to the Council of Ministers (COM).
Measures will include restrictions on CRB host materials, she said.