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Applying to import into containment

Completing the application form

Application form

Word and pdf [] versions of the form are available for seeking approval to import into containment any new organism. Bear in mind that the form is used for all new organism applications, not just biological control agents.

To obtain approval for new organisms in containment []. There are 10 sections to this form:

Section 1

This section requires contact information regarding the applicant.

Section 2

This section requires information about the type of new organism and the type of containent activity that is proposed. Section 2.2 requires a short statement to explain what the application is about. For example: "It is proposed that species A is introduced into containment so that its efficacy and biosafety can be investigated for biological control of species B." Section 2.3 requires a a non-technical summary of the application and reasons for it. In Section 2.4 a longer explanation of the application is needed which requests information about the wider context of the application, for example, what the longer-term expectations are for the new organism(s) which is/are the subject of the application. In the context of biological control it would be expected that the applicant would give some background to the application and explain the pest problem that studies in containment seek to address. So for example, it could be explained that while in containment, host range testing and risk assessments will be carried out to investigate the suitability of the organism for a biological control release, and to determine whether there are any associated organisms that could pose a risk to non-target organism or the New Zealand biota.

Section 3

In this section the taxonomic details of the organism(s) need to be entered. It is really important that there is no confusion or ambivalence about the organism's identity. Assuming the proposed biological control agent is not a GMO, the full taxonomic identity of the organism should be given, from phylum, class, order, family, subfamily,tribe down to species/subspecies, with the name of the author of the species name, and if possible, the date for the species description. For example Genus species author, date. If the author's name is in brackets it means that the species was originally described in a different genus, so it important to be accurate. It can also help if synonyms are listed (earlier names given to this species). Any known biotypes or ecotypes of the organism should be discussed, especially if they are likely to have a different host range.

Information on the biology and "main features" of the organism is requested in this section, for example: its known host range; what it feeds on; its phenology and stages of the life cycle; any known natural enemies; known host records; previous use as a biological conrol agent; its geographical and climatic range; dispersal ability etc. Details of any inseparable organisms such as endosymbionts should be given if this knowledge is available.

The form asks whether the organism has affinities with other organisms in New Zealand. So here the EPA will want to find out about taxonomically related species present in New Zealand as well as organisms which occur in the environment in which the proposed biological control agent is intended to be released (ecological affinities). Clearly information on species that could be at risk from the introduction because of their 'relatedness' should be given here, or an account of the taxonomic distance of the proposed organism and the New Zealand fauna.

The last two questions in Section 3 request information on the likelihood that the organism could form a self-sustaining population. So in the context of an application for introduction to containment, the EPA will want to know whether, if it did escape from containment, it could easily establish and rapidly spread, or if not, what the limiting factors to this would be. It is also asked here, in the context of escape from containment, whether eradication would be possible, and under what circumstances this could be assured (or not). Reference to containment facility protocols required under the Biosecurity Act could be made here.

Section 4

Section 4.1 is unlikely to be applicable for biological control agents because it would rarely be possible in New Zealand to carry out field tests. If this is the intention, the applicant should discuss this in detail with EPA advisors. Section 4.2 asks for details of the containment facility and measures that will be in place to preclude the possibility of escape of the organism. The EPA will want to know details of how the organism will be transported to the facility, whether it will be moved between buildings and how it will be contained. Again details of MPI approvals, record-keeping, safety protocols, and audits of the facility should be quoted here. A contingency plan in place in the event of escape of the organism in question should be documented.

Section 5

This section asks for details of Maori engagement that has taken place in relation to this application. The outcome from the consultation should be given here. See Consultation with Maori and the links given to EPA resources in that section.

Section 6

This is one of the most important sections of the application form. Although this is an application to import a biological control agent into containment, the EPA will want to know what the longer term plans of the applicant are with respect to this organism. So if it is anticipated that the organism will become the subject of an application for release for biological control, it will be necessary to explain the risks and benefits of the release, assuming that the results of the containment studies are positive. It would be useful to discuss studies that have taken place in the native range of the organism; whether it has been used elsewhere for biological control and if so, what was its efficacy against the target pest and what is known about its biosafety; have any other organisms been used in New Zealand for this pest, and what is the predicted compatibility with the proposed organism and other existing IPM measures, and why a further biocontrol introduction is necessary. In addition, information on discussions held with stakeholders and support/opposition to the programme would be useful.

Sections 7 and 8

These sections are not relevant to biological control.

Section 9

This section is included for any other information that has not been covered elsewhere in the form that the EPA needs to be aware of.

Consultation with the EPA before making the application is very strongly advised and it expected that discussions would have taken place with EPA staff well before getting to the stage of submitting a formal application. EPA staff are very happy to assist applicants with any aspect of completing the form.