Pest Risk Management Decision Document – Brown Spruce Longhorn Beetle (Tetropium fuscum)
7.0 Pest risk management

The BSLB steering committee has discussed the next steps for the ongoing and collaborative management of BSLB, with recent recognition and agreement that BSLB poses a lower risk to spruce trees in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick than previously thought. The provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, as well as key industry stakeholders, have therefore proposed national deregulation of BSLB as a logical path to pursue for Canada. This would require consultation with a broad range of stakeholders in Canada, including all provinces and key industry associations, not least due to the potential for increased regulation by the US, although should the US indicate concern with this approach, heat-treatment and compliance programs could be explored to maintain market-access as the volume of 'green' spruce exports to the United States is relatively small.

7.1 Considerations

National deregulation is supported by the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, as well as key Maritime industry members. Deregulation would also eliminate CFIA surveillance, management, and enforcement efforts, reducing activities to only those required for export certification to maintain international market access for Spruce products. This approach reflects a perspective that BSLB is not a serious pest and will ultimately settle into an ecological balance, much like other forest management concerns. While this would be the likely outcome in the long-term as BSLB continues to spread within Canada, it is considered more feasible to continue regulation in the short term, with ongoing recognition of additional areas in which the pest has established. Regulatory tools (i.e., legislative control) can be effective in slowing the spread of the pest, if applied appropriately and consistently. This is a scientifically supported approach, consistent with the management of other regulated pests in Canada, fits within Canada's international obligations to maintain credibility, and reflects a continued risk-based usage of resources. Being consistent with the management of other forest pests, it also improves predictability and certainty as to the impacts of regulation. Immediate regulation of additional areas where the pest has established will allow for free movement of spruce products within this expanded area, and continue to slow the spread of BSLB to other areas of Canada.

Since national deregulation is not yet fully scientifically supported, it is not clear if provinces other than Nova Scotia and New Brunswick will support it. Although BSLB appears to behave as a secondary pest in Nova Scotia, and has been ranked as presenting a 'low-moderate risk' in the recent NSDNR PRA, there still remain considerable uncertainty about how the pest will behave in other areas of Canada with different climatic zones, fauna and tree stressors.

As with all pest situations, the management and regulation of BSLB will be periodically reviewed subject to pest distribution and current scientific information with consideration of national deregulation as the ultimate goal. Additionally, to support both short-term and long-term goals, activities such as those suggested below could be implemented by stakeholder partners and collaborative groups:

  • Implement non-regulatory recommendations such as Best Management Practices
  • Increase industry, stakeholder, and public awareness through communication materials and media campaigns, signs, pamphlets
  • Manage stand health through silviculture & tree-removal, etc.
  • Maintain surveillance program to determine extent of spread
  • Maintain trade negotiation efforts to ensure market access
  • Support research and development of management tools

Reducing the risks presented by the firewood pathway continues to be an important component of the CFIA's overall strategy. The CFIA continues to update its firewood program to include import requirements and domestic guidelines to reduce risks posed by this pathway. Currently, due to the challenges posed by regulating the movement of firewood within Canada, the CFIA is working with federal, provincial, and private partners to deliver an extensive outreach 'Don't Move Firewood' program that aims to distribute a common message about the dangers posed by inadvertent pest-movement associated with the long-range movement of firewood for commercial distribution, household-heating, or recreational purposes such as camping. CFIA prevents the movement of firewood from regulated pest-areas where this distribution is a concern, for forest pests such as Asian Longhorn Beetle, Emerald Ash Borer, as well as BSLB. However, due to the nature of this commodity distribution, it is not always possible to monitor and restrict every instance of firewood movement.

7.2 Management approach

Maintaining the existing "emergency response" approach on a long-term basis is not feasible, given the continued spread of BSLB, its low to medium pest risk status, and the current resource challenges associated with the regulation of numerous individual infested sites. A responsibly-managed phased approach towards ultimate deregulation of the pest in the future is proposed during which BSLB is regulated within an expanded regulated area as an appropriate interim measure, followed by further expansion when the spread of the pest warrants it, and eventual national deregulation.

While deregulation of BSLB will be the likely outcome in the long-term as it continues to spread within Canada, its presence within central Nova Scotia supports a continued 'slow-the-spread' regulatory approach for the short-medium-term future; however this regulation must accurately reflect its known and current distribution. Continued enforcement of restrictions on the movement of regulated articles will limit the pests artificial spread, thereby continuing to slow the spread of BSLB in Canada. Options available for expanding the BSLB regulated area to reflect its distribution in Nova Scotia include:

  1. Regulating the eight known infested counties in Nova Scotia (Hants, Colchester, Halifax, Lunenburg, Antigonish, Cumberland, Pictou and Kings) leaving some outlier sites as individually regulated properties. This expansion represents more accurately the contiguous distribution of the pest, and is based on triggers where counties are regulated when either of the following conditions is met:
    • Single beetle caught in a trapping-site in more than 1 year, OR,
    • Four or more beetles caught in a trapping-site within a year.
  2. Regulating the province of Nova Scotia in its entirety. This option harmonises with the approach taken by the USA, in regulating all of Nova Scotia for Spruce products.

With either option, the CFIA and partners would continue surveillance activities at the regulated area perimeter to monitor pest distribution, taking into consideration host-distribution and risk factors. The CFIA would also maintain regulatory oversight on product movement from the regulated area, provide electronic communications materials, and, support research on management tools, as part of a collaborative approach to management with partners and stakeholders. In order to ensure that industry logistics operations are not compromised under option a, transport restrictions for regulated articles transiting the regulated area would be based on a "no overnight stopping" approach.

Pros: Expanding the regulated area provides a greater level of protection for the rest of Canada as it would result in a lower risk associated with spruce material moving from areas within Nova Scotia that are currently unregulated, but in which there is a high probability that BSLB populations have already established. Option (a) builds on the previous recommendation by the Science Subcommittee to expand the regulated area to encompass a majority of the additional satellite positive sites, while option (b) harmonises with the US perspective by regulating the entire province of Nova Scotia.

Cons: Maritime industry stakeholders have indicated that any expansion of the regulated area poses logistical problems for movement of materials within Nova Scotia, and may compromise their maritime-exempted position in the upcoming renewal of the softwood lumber agreement (although phytosanitary issues are usually exempted from such discussions). Option (b) also implicates additional areas in Nova Scotia as regulated, even though the pest has not been shown to be established in them yet.

In relation to the phased approach and future expansions of the regulated area, the CFIA would continue to regulate on a county-by-county basis while the distribution of BSLB remains restricted to Nova Scotia. When, and if, it spreads to other provinces, the CFIA will consult with stakeholders on how to continue regulations; county-by-county approach, transitioning to a province-by-province approach, or whether national deregulation would be warranted based on the pest-distribution and any new risk-based information.

7.3 Management recommendation

The CFIA plans to implement the scientifically-supported management approach of continued regulation with expansion of the regulated area to the three known-infested counties in Nova Scotia (option a), with further expansion of the area on a county-by-county or provincial basis, as required, ultimately leading to national deregulation of the pest at a later stage in the future, based on scientific information. This reflects a balanced, phased approach to the long-term management of BSLB and is consistent with the CFIA's approach for other similar pests (e.g. emerald ash borer).

By way of this RMD, CFIA is accepting comments from all interested stakeholders on this proposed approach. Please send in your comments via:

Email: forestry-foresterie@inspection.gc.ca

Fax: 613-773-7204 (ATTN to BSLB Management Program c/o Forestry)

Mail: BSLB Management Program c/o Forestry
Plant Biosecurity and Forestry Division
59 Camelot Drive
Ottawa, ON K1A0Y9

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