Caribbean News Now!

About Us Contact Us


Jump to your country or territory of interest

Advertise with us

Reach our daily visitors from around the Caribbean and throughout the world. Click here for rates and placements.


Submit news and opinion for publication


Click here to receive our daily regional news headlines by email.


Click here to browse our extensive archives going back to 2004

Also, for the convenience of our readers and the online community generally, we have reproduced the complete Caribbean Net News archives from 2004 to 2010 here.

Climate Change Watch

The Caribbean is especially vulnerable to rising sea levels brought about by global warming. Read the latest news and information here...

Follow Caribbean News Now on Twitter
Connect with Caribbean News Now on Linkedin

News from the Caribbean:

Back To Today's News

Puerto Rico launches campaign to stop the introduction of invasive pests
Published on December 5, 2013 Email To Friend    Print Version

One of the food and agricultural produce sniffing dogs in Puerto Rico

CAROLINA, Puerto Rico -- US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Aerostar Airport Holdings, the Department of Agriculture of Puerto Rico and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, joined in announcing on Wednesday the implementation of the international Travelers Don’t Pack a Pest outreach program, a multi-agency initiative. The announcement was made at the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico is the second island in the Caribbean to partner in the Travelers Don’t Pack a Pest. Jamaica was the first Caribbean partner and launched its program in 2012.

The Travelers Don’t Pack a Pest program is designed to raise public awareness about the risks associated with passengers potentially introducing pests and diseases into Puerto Rico, the United States and the Caribbean region, by carrying agricultural and food items in their luggage when they travel.

"The Travelers Don't Pack a Pest program was conceived to extend the protection of Florida's food supply and environment to our Caribbean neighbors and beyond," said Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry Division director, Richard Gaskalla. "Without the enthusiastic cooperation of Puerto Rico, this successful partnership would not be possible."

“We are bringing information to all our constituents and partners because we want them to work closely with us,” stated Leyinska Wiscovitch, from the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

Thousands of pounds of agricultural produce are confiscated at ports of entry from passengers on a daily basis. Some travelers are not aware these items are prohibited, while some knowingly attempt to bring in prohibited items.

“Agriculture inspections are a crucial part of the inspection process for items entering into the country,” said Marcelino Borges, director of Field Operations for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. “A single dangerous pest could cause millions of dollars of damage to our nation’s crops.”

These undeclared items pose a serious threat to our food and natural resources as exotic invasive pests can enter through this pathway and become established, causing millions of dollars to manage or eradicate. In addition, these unwanted invaders can result in loss of export markets due to quarantines and can negatively impact natural areas.

“Our office of Agro-commercial Integrity remains vigilant that all agricultural products comply with phytosanitary requirements”, said Dr Myrna Comas, secretary of the Department of Agriculture of Puerto Rico. ”We join this partnership to create awareness.”

If travelers know ahead of time what they can and cannot take in their baggage, they will avoid possible fines as well as avoid having the items confiscated. The focus of this creative agricultural protection outreach program in Florida and Puerto Rico is very appropriate as both are linked as high risk areas vulnerable to new pest introductions through trade and tourism.

“At Aerostar Airport Holdings we recognize our responsibility in providing the necessary support to the agencies that protect Puerto Rico and US borders from invasive plant pest and diseases. We look forward to collaborate with this program since SJU has been recognized as an important destination for this initiative,” stated Agustin Arellano, CEO for Aerostar Airport Holdings, and current operator of the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport.

The Travelers Don’t Pack a Pest includes airing a 60-second video and the placement of signs at strategic areas in major airports and cruise ship ports, along with distribution of other public education materials to the traveling public. These program elements deliver a simple message, “When you travel, declare agriculture items, Don’t Pack a Pest.”

View the video here:

Reads: 17011

Click here to receive daily news headlines from Caribbean News Now!




You have a long way to go. Last summer I observed someone stuffing Melicoccus bijugatus into a Priority Mail box. He did this at the counter under the view of the postal employees


As a result of our comments feature being overtaken in recent weeks by spammers using fake email addresses, producing a large number of bounced verification emails each day, we have reluctantly decided to suspend the comments section until further notice.

User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment author and are not representative of Caribbean News Now or its staff. Caribbean News Now accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Caribbean News Now reserves the right to remove, edit or censor any comments. Any content that is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will not be approved.
Before posting, please refer to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Other Headlines:

Regional Sports: