Sterile Insect Technique: international framework to facilitate transboundary shipments of sterile insects


W.R. Enkerlin & R. Pereira

The sterile insect technique (SIT), as part of an integrated pest management (IPM) approach, has been successfully applied since the 1950s in large-scale programmes to prevent, contain, suppress, and eradicate key insect pests in many countries worldwide. During this period, over 1 trillion live sterile insects have been shipped across borders. The very few incidents from this significant trade were managed and resulted in no significant impacts. The phyto and zoosanitary regulations in place and required so far by importing countries have been simple and have facilitated transboundary shipment of sterile insects. This has been done mostly under the framework of cooperative agreements between governments of involved countries and under technical cooperation projects of the United Nations. The shipment of sterile insects from other sources outside this governmental framework, including public-private facilities, however, has been complicated, despite the availability of harmonised international guidelines in some cases, such as for fruit flies. There is a great potential use of the SIT for control of endemic pests or against the growing threat of invasive pests that can affect whole regions and continents. Since SIT is species-specific with negligible risk of introducing unwanted invasive species to the environment and with the advantage of reducing insecticide use, a harmonised framework that recognises the low risk of SIT, would facilitate shipments of sterile insects across borders and help to expand the use of this effective and environment friendly technology. The scope of this chapter is limited to insects that have been sterilised using ionising radiation.

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