Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area Priority Pest List

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

The Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area (NPA) region is a pathway for pests, weeds and diseases. The region is vulnerable from the north and south.

We are developing an agreed list of target pests, weeds and diseases for the Torres Strait and NPA region.

We will use this list to:

  • guide initiatives consistent with the Torres Strait and NPA Biosecurity Strategy
  • guide the priorities of the Torres Strait and NPA Biosecurity Working Group (BWG)
  • target biosecurity measures and resourcing to high impact species that threaten the region.

Provide your feedback

Thank you for helping to score the priority pests and diseases.

Please complete the relevant scoring sheet:


The Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area (NPA) region is a pathway for pests, weeds and diseases. The region is vulnerable from the north and south.

We are developing an agreed list of target pests, weeds and diseases for the Torres Strait and NPA region.

We will use this list to:

  • guide initiatives consistent with the Torres Strait and NPA Biosecurity Strategy
  • guide the priorities of the Torres Strait and NPA Biosecurity Working Group (BWG)
  • target biosecurity measures and resourcing to high impact species that threaten the region.

Provide your feedback

Thank you for helping to score the priority pests and diseases.

Please complete the relevant scoring sheet:


  • Likelihood (Social Impact)

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Minimal Concern (MC) - Equivalent score: 1-5

    No information about impact to enable classification; or relevant studies available but no reported negative impacts on social amenity resources including natural environments used by a significant number of people over an extensive area, Australian culture, heritage, cultural assets, practice and customs significant to particular sections in the community, infrastructure, or nationally significant iconic amenity.

    Minor (MN) - Equivalent score: 6-20

    Negative impact on at least one social amenity resource including natural environments used by a significant number of people over an extensive area, culture, heritage, cultural assets, practice and customs significant to particular sections in the community, infrastructure, or nationally significant iconic amenity, such that the alien taxon makes it difficult for people to utilise the resource, leading to reductions in extent of utilising resources. Reductions of the extent of utilising the amenity can be detected through, for example, reduced access to services or natural or built amenities (such as beaches, coral reefs, power, bridges, and communication), higher effort or expenses to participate in activities, nuisance and reduced freedom of movement. Despite these impacts, no significant change in extent of utilising resources is reported, i.e. the number of people utilising these resources is not significantly reduced.

    Moderate (MO) - Equivalent score: 21-50

    Negative impact on at least one social amenity resource including natural environments used by a significant number of people over an extensive area, culture, heritage, cultural assets, practice and customs significant to particular sections in the community, infrastructure, or significant iconic amenity, such that the alien taxon makes it difficult for people to utilise the resource, leading to significant changes in extent of utilising resources, but the resource is still utilised. Reductions of the extent of utilising the amenity can be detected through, for example, significantly reduced access to services or natural or built amenities (such as beaches, coral reefs, power, bridges, communication), moving an activity around the resource to regions without the alien taxon or to other parts of the area less invaded by the alien taxon; partial abandonment of the activity without replacement by other activities; or switch to other resources while staying in the same area invaded by the alien taxon

    Major (MR) - Equivalent score: 51-90

    Negative impact on at least one social amenity resource including natural environments used by a significant number of people over an extensive area, culture, heritage, cultural assets, practice and customs significant to particular sections in the community, infrastructure, or nationally significant iconic amenity, such that the alien taxon makes it difficult for people to utilise the resource, leading to local cessation of utilising resources in all or part of the area invaded by the alien taxon (e.g. collapse of the specific amenity resource or social activity around it, switch to other resources, or complete abandonment of resources without replacement, or emigration from region). ‘Local Cessation’ of utilising resources does not necessarily imply the disappearance of resources or activities from the entire region assessed, but refers to the typical spatial scale over which social communities in the region are characterised (e.g. a human settlement). Change is likely to be reversible within a decade after removal or control of the alien taxon.

    Massive (MV) - Equivalent score: 91-100

    Negative impact on at least one social amenity resource including natural environments used by a significant number of people over an extensive area, culture, heritage, cultural assets, practice and customs significant to particular sections in the community, infrastructure, or nationally significant iconic amenity, such that the alien taxon makes it difficult for people to utilise the resource, leading to local cessation of utilising resources in all or part of the area invaded by the alien. Change is likely to be permanent and irreversible due to fundamental structural changes of environmental conditions, infrastructure, amenity of resources and cultural, heritage and religious material and non-material assets valued by particular sections of the community.

  • Considerations for assessing impact on social amenity

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    supporting image

    For the purpose of this assessment, social amenity refers to any tangible or intangible resources developed by humans or provided by nature, and the values assigned to these resources, e.g. recreational, heritage, cultural or spiritual values. For this question, experts should provide a specific numeric score between 1 and 100, using the description in each category as a guide.

    Based on the scope and definitions mentioned above, when assessing the impact on social amenity, several factors should be considered in scoring:

    1. What are the valued amenity resources affected by exotic species?
    • Natural environments such as parks, beaches, coral reefs, outlooks, and views.
    • Culture, cultural assets, practice or custom, national image, heritage, sense of place, spiritual or religious beliefs.
    • Infrastructure including facilities, services and installations that support society, such as water, power, transport and communication. This may include buildings/dwellings, waterways, roads, bridges, wharfs, pipes, wiring and electrical grids/powerlines.
    • Amenity resources that are considered ‘iconic’ and nationally important, regardless of the extent of their geographical distribution.
    1. What are the possible negative impact(s) of the exotic species?
    • Destruction of resource
    • Impact on individuals and communities, such as lost access, displacement and freedom of movement
    • Degraded aesthetics
    • Nuisance, such as by mosquitoes, ants and other species
    • Diminishing of non-material values assigned to the resource.
    • Need to change an activity as a result of invasion by a particular species.
    1. What is the magnitude of the alien taxon’s impact in regard to the proportion of the human population and the spatial extent?

    To avoid confusion, it is important to note what is excluded from the assessment:

    • Impacts of species on human health, such as reactions to bites or stings.
    • Direct economic impacts, such as any particular industry-related direct loss of income as a result of infestation on a crop, amenity or resource. Industries including agriculture, aquaculture, fishing and forestry related activities are covered by their own respective lists and are therefore outside the scope of this project.
    • Potential positive impacts of some species, similarly to the case with some introduced alien species, like brumbies, camels, and goats. Only negative impacts of invasive species are to be assessed for this list.
    • Indirect social impacts resulting from managing exotic species, while we acknowledge them, are outside the scope of the current project. For example, indirect social impacts might include animal (host) movement restrictions preventing people from travelling with pets or livestock to attend events; or deleterious impacts of herbicide use on social amenity within a control area.

    Decision tree to assist in determining social amenity impact

    Adapted from the Socio-Economic Impact Classification of Taxa (SEICAT) (Bacher et al. 2017)

  • Likelihood (Environmental Impact)

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Minimal Concern (MC) - Equivalent score: 1-5

    A taxon is considered to have impacts of minimal concern when it is unlikely to cause deleterious impacts on the native biota or abiotic environment. Note that all alien taxa have impacts on the recipient environment at some level, for example by altering species diversity or community similarity (e.g. biotic homogenisation), and for this reason there is no category equating to “no impact”

    Minor (MN) - Equivalent score: 6-20

    A taxon is considered to have minor impacts when it causes reductions in the fitness/performance of individuals in the native biota, but no declines in native population sizes, and has no impacts that would cause it to be classified in a higher impact category. For this category, think at the individual level.

    Moderate (MO) - Equivalent score: 21-50

    A taxon is considered to have moderate impacts when it causes declines in the population size of native species but no changes to the structure of communities or to the abiotic or biotic composition of ecosystems, and has no impacts that would cause it to be classified in a higher category. For this category, think about population level impacts.

    Major (MR) - Equivalent score: 51-90

    A taxon is considered to have major impacts when it causes the extirpation of at least one native species, and leads to reversible changes in the structure of communities and the abiotic or biotic composition of ecosystems, and has no impacts that cause it to be classified in the massive category. For this category, think community level, reversible impacts, importance at the national level. Consideration should be given to nationally important species, ecologically important species, nationally important places, ecologically important places and extensive impacts and whether there are impacts on the conservation status of the species (by either significantly modifying, destroying or isolating habitat for a significant proportion of the species; or disrupting the lifecycle of a significant proportion of the species) or the values or heritage values are impacted for nationally important or ecologically important places. For these considerations, impacts are reversible.

    Massive (MV) - Equivalent score: 91-100

    A taxon is considered to have massive impacts when it leads to the replacement and extirpation of one or several native species, and produces irreversible changes in the structure of communities and the abiotic or biotic composition of ecosystems. For this category, think community level, irreversible impacts, importance at the national level. Consideration should be given to nationally important species, ecologically important species, nationally important places, ecologically important places and extensive impacts and whether there are impacts on the conservation status of the species (by either significantly modifying, destroying or isolating habitat for a significant proportion of the species; or disrupting the lifecycle of a significant proportion of the species) or the values or heritage values are impacted for nationally important or ecologically important places. For these considerations, impacts are irreversible.

  • Considerations for assessing impact on the environment

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    supporting image

    For the assessment of impact on the environment, you should consider the magnitude of impact over a 10 year time period if a pest, weed or disease were to enter, establish and spread.

    For this question, you should provide a specific numeric score between 1 and 100, using the description in each category as a guide.

    Consideration should be given to the following to assess the magnitude of the pest, weed or disease impact:

    • Impact on biodiversity:
    • competition with native species
    • predation / toxic defences / herbivory
    • alterations to habitat
    • disease transmission
    • hybridisation
    • Impacts on the structure of ecological communities
    • Colonisation of high conservation value habitats
    • Alteration of ecosystem functions:
    • physical modification to nutrient cycling
    • modifications of natural successions
    • disruption of food webs

    The worst-case scenario should be considered when assessing likely impacts.

    It is important to consider the scope of the priority list when determining the likely environmental impact of each organism. For consideration of environmental impacts at the regional level, thought should be given to whether negative impacts are extensive and/or there are negative consequences for important species, ecologically valuable species, nationally important places, and ecologically important places.

    • Important species are native species that have a particular significance to the community because they are either relevant to the identity, nationally listed or subject to international obligation.
    • Ecologically valuable species are native species that make a significant contribution to national biodiversity due to factors such as being a keystone species, or being a phylogenetically distinct species.
    • Important place is any place that has a particular significance to the community or are important to the regions identity.
    • Ecologically important places are defined as an area that makes a significant contribution to Australia’s natural environment; or meets national heritage listing criteria; or are nationally-listed, ecological communities and RAMSAR wetlands.

    An ‘extensive impact’ means severely and/or extensively affecting one or more of the following:

    • the physical environment
    • biodiversity
    • the structure of ecological communities
    • ecosystem functions
    • environmental amenity
    • ecosystem services

    When providing evidence, please include the impact the species could have on the environment. Indirect impacts should not be included in the scoring of species, for example, impacts of managing a species should it arrive.

    Decision tree to assist in determining environmental impact

    Adapted from the EICAT system (Blackburn et al. 2014; Hawkins et al. 2015)


  • Likelihood (spread)

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Use this table to determine the likelihood that the organism, once established, will spread to its maximum extent int the next 10 years?

    Please refer to page 24 of the methodology document for more information.

    Category
    Interval range
    Equivalent Score
    Descriptive definition
    Very high
    >90%
    (0.95)
    The probability that the organism will spread to its maximum extent is more than 90% (based on the consideration of a number of factors: dispersal mechanism, reproductive potential and rates, availability of hosts/vectors, management practices, climatic barriers and current control practices)
    High
    50-90%
    (0.67)
    The probability that the organism will spread to its maximum extent is between 50 – 90%
    Moderate
    20-50%
    (0.32)
    The probability that the organism will spread to its maximum extent is between 20 – 50%
    Low
    5-20%
    (0.10)
    The probability that the organism will spread to its maximum extent is between 5 – 20%.
    Very low
    1-5 %
    (0.02)
    The probability that the organism will spread to its maximum extent is between 1 – 5%.
    Negligible
    < 1 %
    (0.01)
    The probability that the organism will spread to its maximum extent is less than 1%


  • Level of confidence

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Use this information to determine your level of confidence in your likelihood rating.

    The confidence level of each expert answer will be self-assigned by the expert based on the quality of the information. Guidance on the level of confidence is as follows:

    Low

    There is little or no direct evidence to support the assessment (for example only data from other species have been used as supporting evidence).

    Unreliable sources of information that are poor quality or difficult to interpret.

    Medium

    There is some evidence to support the assessment.

    Some information is indirect (for example, assumptions were based on analogies from phylogenetically or functionally similar species). The interpretation of data may, to some extent, be ambiguous or contradictory

    High

    There is good quality, directly relevant evidence (this can be evidence of impacts of species from other countries; however, the relevance to Australia will need to be considered).

    There are reliable sources/good quality data or non-contradictory/ non-controversial information.

  • Considerations for estimating likelihood of entry

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    • Is there a realistic pathway for the organism to enter the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area?
    • How many pathways of entry are there, one or multiple?
    • What is the likelihood of entry via each of the particular pathways?
      • Consider assessing individual pathways separately when determining overall likelihood of the organism’s entry. A higher number of pathways (including the frequency and quantity of the organism associated with each pathway), may lead to a higher probability of the organism entering the region.
    • Are the pathways of introduction intentional (including illegal trade) or unintentional (e.g. stowaways)? Are any of these pathways regulated? How effective is this regulation?
    • Consideration should also be given to current pre-border and border controls – is the organism likely to be detected given these current controls?
    • Are there pathways that cannot feasibly be managed, which would enable the organism to enter Australia?
    • Country of origin of an organism and its global distribution; its vicinity to the region (for example PNG); trade routes between these countries and the region
    • International spread patterns – identify pathway trends through international spread of an organism
    • Interception data (if available)
    • Types of packaging for goods and the organism’s association with these (where relevant)
    • Viability/vulnerability over life stages of the organism on means of transport (ship, plane) during voyage?
  • Likelihood (entry)

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Use this information to determine the likelihood that the organism will enter the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area in the next 10 years.

    Category
    Interval range
    Equivalent Score
    Descriptive definition
    Very high
    >90%
    (0.95)
    It is almost certain that the organism would enter Australia in the next 10 years.
    High
    50-90%
    (0.67)
    There is a high chance the organism will enter Australia in the next 10 years given the combination of factors for consideration.
    Moderate
    20-50%
    (0.32)
    The entry of the organism is possible given the combination of factors for consideration
    Low
    5-20%
    (0.10)
    The organism has a low entry potential, but it is clearly possible
    Very low
    1-5 %
    (0.02)
    The organism has a very limited entry potential given the number of factors for consideration
    Negligible
    < 1 %
    (0.01)
    It is almost certain that the organism would not enter Australia in the next 10 years.


  • Convention of biological diversity pathway categorisation

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    Transport Category Subcategory
    Movement of commodity Release in nature (1) Biological control


    Erosion control/ dune stabilization (windbreaks, hedges)


    Fishery in the wild (including game fishing)


    Hunting


    Landscape/flora/fauna “improvement” in the wild


    Release in nature for use (other than above, e.g., fur, transport, medical use)


    Other intentional release

    Escape from confinement (2) Agriculture (including biofuel feedstocks)


    Aquaculture / mariculture


    Botanical garden/zoo/aquaria (excluding domestic aquaria)


    Pet/aquarium/terrarium species (including live food for such species)


    Farmed animals (including animals left under limited control)


    Forestry (including afforestation or reforestation)


    Fur farms


    Horticulture


    Ornamental purpose other than horticulture


    Research and ex-situ breeding (in facilities)


    Live food and live bait


    Other escape from confinement

    Transport - contaminant (3) Contaminant in nursery material


    Contaminated bait


    Food contaminant (including of live food)


    Contaminant on animals (except parasites, species transported by host/vector)


    Parasites on animals (including species transported by host and vector)


    Contaminant on plants (except parasites, species transported by host/vector)


    Parasites on plants (including species transported by host and vector)


    Seed contaminant


    Timber trade


    Transportation of habitat material (soil, vegetation)


    Tyres


    Fertiliser


    Machinery/equipment/vehicles


    Skins/hides/feathers


    Unaccompanied personal effects


    Veterinary
    Vector Transport - stowaway (4) Angling/fishing equipment


    Container/bulk


    Hitchhikers in or on airplane


    Hitchhikers on ship/boat (excluding ballast water and hull fouling)


    Machinery/equipment


    People and their luggage/equipment (in particular tourism)


    Organic packing material, in particular wood packaging


    Ship/boat ballast water


    Ship/boat hull fouling


    Vehicles (car, train)


    Other means of transport


    Mail
    Spread Corridor (5) Interconnected waterways/basins/seas


    Tunnels and land bridges

    Unaided (6) Natural dispersal across borders of invasive alien species that have been introduced through pathways 1 to 5


  • Considerations for estimating likelihood of establishment

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Depending on the species examined, a greater likelihood of establishment success may be determined by the species biology, the availability of suitable hosts, and climatic suitability.

    Key considerations:

    • Is there suitable climate in the Torres Strait for the species? How similar are climatic conditions affecting the species establishment in the source area (or where the species currently occurs) compared to likely areas of distribution in Australia?
    • Is there suitable habitat in the Torres Strait for the species (e.g. for marine pests, smooth surface vs rocky)?
    • Is there a suitable host, or alternative hosts, or vectors (if relevant) in the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area?
    • Is there a natural barrier to establishment, for example, a natural predator?
    • Are there biotic or abiotic considerations that would prevent/enhance a species establishment?
      • For example, reproductive strategies, wider host range in Australia?
      • How similar are other abiotic factors that would affect the species’ establishment in Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area?
      • Does the organisms’ reproductive strategy and duration of its life cycle enhance establishment?
    • Propagule pressure for establishment – what is the minimum population needed for establishment?
    • How likely would existing management practice fail to prevent establishment of the species?