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Releasing biological control agents

In Section 7 of the application (release) or Section 9 (release with controls) the applicant could provide details of the proposed release programme, including information on the breeding and culture (where applicable), and the life-stage and number of the organisms to be released; timing and location(s) of release or release with controls etc. The costs of the importation, rearing and release phases of the programme, as well as handling and harvesting methods involved, could also be covered.

There are many other issues that should be taken into account when designing a release programme, and an applicant may wish to include these in completing the application form. Here is a fuller treatment of the factors that can influence the design of a release strategy, illustrated where possible with New Zealand examples.

Establishing biological control agents is not a straightforward matter. Establishment may be instantaneous, may occur only after a long period, or may not happen at all. History shows us that ease of rearing in the laboratory is no predictor of establishment success.