Salvinia weevils to help clear infested water

KOTA KINABALU: Vast tracts of bodies of water in Sabah are expected to be cleared of Salvinia molesta infestation with the introduction of the Cyrtobagous salviniae weevils.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Hajiji Haji Noor lauded the environmental-friendly efforts taken by the Agriculture and Food Industry Ministry through the Agriculture Department.
Native to Brazil, the invasive Salvinia molesta aquatic weeds grow on surface of bodies of water and endanger biodiversity and abundance of freshwater species, including fish and submerged aquatic plants.The weeds first sighted in Sabah in early 2000.
A beetle species with elongated snouts, the Cyrtobagous salviniae weevil or salvinia weevil is an agent of biological pest control for the Salvinia molesta or commonly known as giant salvinia since both adults and larvae feed on the plant.
Launching the programme virtually to introduce the Cyrtobagous salviniae weevils to all the districts in Sabah to check the Salvinia molesta infestations, the Chief Minister said giant salvinia has infested at least 200 water bodies such as rivers, waterways, fish ponds and padi fields throughout Sabah.
“This is a serious situation and needs to be addressed immediately,” he said, adding that steps have to be taken to stop the spreading of the weeds in Kinabatangan, Sandakan, Lahad Datu, Tawau, Semporna, Beaufort, Kuala Penyu, Papar, Kota Kinabalu, Penampang, Kota Marudu, Kota Belud, Kudat, Tongod and Tuaran.
He said the State Government appreciated and fully support the various steps taken by the State Agriculture Department together with the Mukim Batu Puteh Kinabatangan Berhad (KOPEL Bhd), Malaysia Remote Sensing Agency, Wildlife Department, Forestry Department, Sabah Biodiversity Centre and Sawit Kinabalu Sdn Bhd in monitoring the giant salvinia infestations.
“These efforts are necessary to ensure the infestation of Salvinia molesta can be addressed in a holistic manner. Therefore, I call upon the people in Sabah to join in and help our water bodies and environment stay pristine,” he said.
At the same time, the Chief Minister urged the people to be alert on such threats by refraining from bringing in, selling or spreading any type of non-native plant, animal or micro organisms without going through the proper quarantine procedures as stipulated in the 1976 Plant Quarantine Act and 1981 Quarantine Regulations.
Giant salvinia can be found being sold online as decoration for guppy fish aquariums.


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