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2020 AGM High Risk Period

Please note the following circular from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency regarding the start of the 2020 high-risk season for AGM on the West Coast of Canada (March 1 2020) –

“Asian gypsy moth (AGM) is a serious pest that can be carried on ships and cargo. AGM populations are prevalent in some seaport areas in Far East Russia, Japan, Korea, and Northern China. If introduced to North America, AGM would have significant negative impacts on our forestry and agriculture, the natural environment, the commerce that relies on those plant resources, and market access.

Vessels must arrive in North American ports free of AGM and with required pre-departure certification. It is vital that the maritime industry and authorities in the United States (U.S.) and Canada collaborate on measures to minimize the risk of AGM incursion. Although the plant health and agricultural agencies of the U.S. and Canada are independent and have differences in their legislation, AGM risk mitigation and exclusion efforts are a joint effort and a high priority.

Both countries are committed to working with industry partners on measures to reduce AGM risk at origin. The shipping industry’s role in promoting and meeting AGM requirements has been vital to preventing the introduction of AGM to North America and maintaining shipping schedules. When vessels arrive without the required AGM certification, or when AGM is detected, significant delays in cargo loading or discharging activities as well as in routine clearance can occur, resulting in loss of revenue to the shipping line and associated parties.

During the 2019 AGM flight period, very high numbers of moths were observed in many regulated ports. Due to these population outbreaks, a high number of vessels arrived in North American ports with AGM egg masses in 2019. Vessels that called on the areas with population outbreaks in 2019 may arrive in North American ports in 2020. To prevent a similar high number of vessels with egg masses arriving in 2020, extra vigilance in conducting self inspection— in addition to obtaining AGM certification— is requested.

Actions For vessels that have called on areas regulated for AGM during the specified risk periods, as outlined in Table 1, the following measures are required:

  1. Vessels must be inspected and must obtain pre-departure certification from a recognized certification body. A copy of the certificate, stating that the vessel is free of AGM life stages, must be forwarded to the vessel’s U.S or Canadian agents. The certificate must be issued from at least the last port of call in a regulated area that was visited during the specific risk period.
  2. Vessels must arrive in North American ports free from AGM. To avoid facing inspection delays, re-routing and other potential impacts associated with mitigating the risk of entry of AGM to North America, shipping lines should perform intensive vessel self-inspections to look for, remove (scrape off) and properly dispose of or destroy all egg masses and other life stages of AGM prior to entering U.S. and Canadian ports.
  3. Vessels must provide two-year port of call data, at least 96 hours prior to arrival in a North American port, to the vessel’s Canadian or U.S. agent. The agent is to ensure that this information is provided to U.S. or Canadian officials.

Vessel operators are also reminded to ensure that the vessels are in good repair and decks are clear of debris and unnecessary obstacles in order to allow for thorough inspection both in AGM regulated areas and upon arrival in North America. While in regulated ports during moth flight periods and where port operations and safety allow, reducing lighting and keeping exterior doors and curtains closed may reduce the number of moths being attracted to the vessel. Arranging for inspection and certification services as far in advance as possible and providing two-year port of call history at the time of that request allows the inspection and certification body to better plan for delivery of the service in a timely manner.

Upon arrival in North America there have been AGM detections on vessels that obtained predeparture certification. During the flight period inspection should be conducted and certification issued as close to departure as possible — ideally during daylight hours and on the same day as departure. Where vessel departure is delayed post certification, there is the possibility that moths may re-infest the vessel and deposit egg masses post certification.

Although the requirements for AGM pre departure certification and vessels arriving free from all AGM life forms (egg masses, pupae, adults) are the same for the U.S. and Canada there are differences in port-of-entry processes between the two countries due to sovereign regulations and policies. Please contact local inspection authorities in the port-of-entry if you have any questions regarding AGM import requirements or clearance procedures.

It is the responsibility of the shipping lines to meet all requirements for entry to the U.S. and Canada, including freedom from AGM and other pest concerns. We strongly urge maritime interests to take all possible precautions. For further information on the AGM program, please visit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and/or Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s websites.”