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Regulatory Constraints to the Practice of Biological Control in Hawaii
Editor(s): J. A. Lockwood; F. G. Howarth; M. F. Purcell
Author(s): R. H. Messing, M. F. Purcell
Print Publication Date: 2001

Hawaii has an excellent record of success in the practice of biological pest control using entomophagous arthropods. However, the current atmosphere of bureaucracy and over-regulation is stifling the science and the practice of biocontrol to the detriment of both agriculture and native Hawaiian ecosystems. Historical and current data show that the importation of opiine braconid parasitoids for control of tephritid fruit fly pests in Hawaii has been effective and has improved agricultural production while having minimal effect on nontarget species. Opportunities to improve fruit fly control by introducing additional opiine species exist. However, current administrative rules and procedures reduce the likelihood of success. These rules also stifle classical biological control projects directed against other agricultural pests and against pests of native ecosystems, and make importation of commercially produced natural enemies for augmentation extremely difficult. All options for controlling insect pests, including the option of no action, entail some degree of risk to the environment. Government regulation of these options should be based on assessments and comparisons of these risks and potential benefits. Regulation should be based on thorough evaluations, but should be conducted in a timely manner so as not to exclude a valuable technology due to a cumbersome system.

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