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September 18, 2012 12:00:00 AM
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Biosecurity of Fiji (BAF) is waiting for formal response from the Government and formal arrangements from the Ministry of Public Enterprise to help eradicate American Iguana.

BAF chief executive, Elvis Silvestrini said, “The population of American iguanas have increased in Qamea, Matagi, Taveuni and the Laucala islands.”

He also added that BAF has a three year American iguana eradication program from 2012 to 2014. BAF has been working in association with Mareqeti Viti-Nature Fiji have been working together to eradicate iguanas.

“A number of aspects of the three-year strategic plan have been implemented which includes appointing temporary Biosecurity officers who are conducting monitoring and surveillance, gathering and submitting data on sighted, captured and non-captured nesting sites of American Iguanas and assisting with euthanasia,” Silvestrini added.

The Fijian government stated that funding had been used on eradication and awareness programs for the first quarters of operations, however additional funding is needed to accelerate the process.

BAF declared Qamea, Matagi, Taveuni and Laucala islands as Biosecurity emergency areas for six months starting in February this year because of the increase in the American iguana population.

Movement of all stages of American iguana including eggs into, out of, or within the declared Biosecurity emergency areas is strictly prohibited.

Failing to comply with this declaration is an offence and the court can issue a maximum fine of $50,000 and/or 15 months imprisonment or a fixed penalty of $1000.

By Indrani Krishna

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