09 August 2013
Islanders are being reminded of the risk of bringing plants, fruit, vegetables and seeds into Jersey. A new campaign by the Department of the Environment aims to make people aware that it is illegal to import some plants, seeds, flowers, fruit and vegetables, such as potatoes, into Jersey, and to persuade people to bin them before they arrive in the Island.
Posters displayed in the Island’s ports and airports will highlight the threat to Jersey’s countryside and economy of bringing in products that can host pests or diseases harmful to local biodiversity.
There’s been an increase in the number of new pests and diseases introduced to European countries in recent years due to more international trade and travel.
Pests and diseases cling to plants, seeds, flowers, fruit and vegetables, and on soil around roots, even if the products look healthy. Once in a new environment, these non-native pests and diseases can cause severe economic losses to agriculture and the countryside.
Royal potato industry threatened
The Island’s potato crops and trees such as ash, oak and pine are currently under threat by pests and disease in other European countries. For example the Epitrix Potato Beetle, originally from South America, is now present in Spain and travellers are urged not to bring back plant material from this area. If this beetle became established in Jersey it would have severe impact on the export of the Jersey Royal crop to English markets.
Head of Plant Health at the Department of the Environment, Scott Meadows said, “Many of us enjoy a trip to the local supermarket or garden centre when we’re on holiday or visiting relatives, and it’s perfectly understandable that people want to come home with a bag or two of tasty potatoes, or a packet of interesting seeds. But we’d really urge them to think again.
“For a start, it can be illegal; you can’t bring in many plants and plant products, such as fruit and vegetables (including seed potatoes) without official authorisation. But we’re also keen to help raise awareness of why it’s such a bad idea. An accidental introduction of a regulated pest or disease could wreak havoc in our land-based industries or the wider environment in Jersey – and none of us would want that.”
Bin your illegal plant and seed holiday souvenirs
He advises that if people want to import plant material to Jersey, they should contact the Department of the Environment beforehand to find out what they can do legally.
If people bring back plants, products or seeds by accident, they should place them in the bin at the harbour or airport before entering Jersey.