14 Jul 2014

SPREP points to risk by pests

10:59 am on 14 July 2014

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme says the economic stakes are high for Pacific countries in the need to invest in addressing invasive species.

Tonga's government recently put 1.5 million US dollars towards a regional fight against invasive species, with Palau making a similar commitment.

SPREP's director general, David Sheppard, says about 80 percent of the extinction of species in the last 200 years in the region are due to invasive species.

He says it also has large impacts on Pacific economies.

"In Guam the brown tree snake, the control costs 10 million per year, in Samoa 10 - 15 years ago, the taro leaf blight caused a drop of export value from about 3 million 1993 to 50 thousand the next year so it's a big challenge."

David Sheppard says countries can work togther, but it's much more effective if Pacific nations work collectively at a regional level.