HAWAII DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Notice of Interim Rule Designating the Island of Oahu as a Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle Infested Area and Subject to Quarantine
On October 4, 2023, pursuant to interim rule, the Chairperson of the Board of Agriculture (Chairperson) designated the entire Island of Oahu as an area infested by coconut rhinoceros beetle (CRB), Oryctes rhinoceros. This authorizes the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA), Plant Quarantine Branch (PQB) to restrict the movement of CRB host materials from the island of Oahu to uninfested areas in the state effective October 4, 2023.
The HDOA is authorized to establish interim rules when the importation or movement of any flora or fauna, in the absence of effective rules, creates a situation dangerous to public health and safety or to the ecological health of flora or fauna present in the State which is so immediate in nature as to constitute an emergency. Due to findings of CRB in multiple locations on Oahu, the wildfires on Maui and Hawaii Island necessitating significant increases in the movement of CRB host materials for remediation efforts, and after a finding by the Advisory Committee on Plants and Animals on October 2, 2023 that the movement of CRB host material constitutes an emergency, it was determined that an island-wide quarantine for the island of Oahu is necessary to prevent the further spread of CRB from the island of Oahu to other islands not known to have this destructive pest.
The designation of the island of Oahu as a CRB-infested area means that the movement of CRB host material from the island of Oahu is subject to the quarantine restrictions specified in interim rule 23-1. Among other things, the movement or transportation of CRB host material, which includes but is not limited to palm plants in the genera Cocos, Livistona, Phoenix, Pritchardia, Roystonea, and Washingtonia; decomposing plant material such as compost, wood or tree chips, and mulch; plant propagation media; and other items comprised of decomposing organic plant material such as landscaping material or erosion control socks from a CRB-infested area to an area that is uninfested, is prohibited except as approved by the HDOA. Authorization for the transportation of a commodity or item listed in the preceding sentence shall be by permit, with conditions established by the HDOA appropriate for each of the following circumstances, and subject to inspection prior to movement and safeguards and/or treatments established by the HDOA: 1) Movement of any palm plants in the genera Cocos, Livistona, Phoenix, Pritchardia, Roystonea, and Washingtonia that have trunks not greater than 48 inches in height, measured from the soil-line to the lowest frond; 2) Movement of decomposing plant material such as compost, wood or tree chips, and mulch; plant propagation media; and other items comprised of decomposing organic plant material such as landscaping material or erosion control socks are subject to a PQB-approved treatment and subsequent staging in an area that is completely enclosed to prevent CRB infestation, or storage in a completely sealed container or stored in a container that is completely covered with a secure lid until transportation to an uninfested area is complete.
In addition, the HDOA is authorized to approve treatments, safeguards, and mitigative measures as they are scientifically validated and may revise requirements accordingly, as necessary to prevent movement of CRB to uninfested areas and to preserve the quarantine.
Export (out-of-state) shipments of CRB host materials from a CRB infested area are not subject to quarantine restrictions, provided that they are exported directly from a CRB infested area and are not transshipped through a CRB uninfested area in the State.
The quarantine restrictions apply to all Oahu nurseries, retailers, distributors of CRB host materials, mulch/compost producers, and to any individual or entity that transports CRB host material from the island of Oahu.