Ministry of Agriculture Worried About Giant African Snail
Head of the Plant Protection and Quarantine Unit Mr. Ryan Anselm says, there is reason for the Ministry of Agriculture to be worried, as a recent report from the Florida Department of Agriculture, has revealed an infestation of the Giant African Snail in that State.
Ms. Denise Feiber, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, noted, more than 1,000 of the snails are being caught each week in Miami-Dade county and 117,000 in total, since the first snail was spotted by a homeowner in September 2011.
Mr. Anselm said they are all concerned especially as the last thing they need right now is the re-infestation of the snail in Dominica, as they trade in a number of commodities such as fresh fruits and vegetables, vehicles and equipment with Florida.
He said the species in Florida contains a long worm nematode that is called a vector which is very dangerous to humans and animals.
He noted if a human consumes the snail in its raw form, or it comes in contact with a water stream it can be very dangerous to the health of humans and animals alike.
Mr. Anselm mentioned that, the Giant African Snail is considered one of the most destructive invasive species, feeding voraciously on more than 500 plant species. They can also eat through plaster walls, which provides the calcium content they need for their shells.
He said, what they have done is analyze the pathway that, the snail can come into Dominica and are looking at the container trade very seriously, as the snail is a very good hitchhiker.
They can attach themselves unto a container, used vehicle, used equipment and even soil material that come into Dominica Mr. Anselm added.
He said when these rules are not followed; the perpetrators are putting the country at risk and introduce a pest or disease to the country that may re-introduce the Giant African Snail to Dominica.
He also indicated that Dominica’s Giant African Snail population has been reduced significantly as a result of implemented measures to contain the snail by the Ministry of Agriculture.