Bridgetown U.S. Embassy hosts ‘Strategies for the Eradication of the Giant African Land Snail and other invasive species.’

The Public Affairs Section at the U.S. Embassy to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, and the OECS has invited Dr. Trevor Smith, a noted American entomologist, to host a series of workshops and public lectures in Barbados and St. Lucia about the successful management and eradication of the giant African land snail by the Florida Agricultural Division.

Led by Dr. Smith, in the two years since the giant African land snail was discovered in Florida, the department’s eradication program has found and eliminated hundreds of thousands of this pest, and other invasive species. The state of Florida is the only place where this species of snail has been successfully eradicated.

Dr. Smith's work in this area will be invaluable in helping to assist Barbados and St. Lucia - the two Caribbean islands most affected by the snails - to combat this pest and create effective action plans for the future. With the governments of St. Lucia and Barbados partnering with the U.S. Embassy to promote the speaker program and use their spaces for workshops and public lectures, Dr. Smith will be able to reach a wider audience and have a greater impact on the community.

Dr. Smith’s work in this area will be invaluable in helping to assist Barbados and St. Lucia – the two Caribbean islands most affected by the snails – to combat this pest and create effective action plans for the future. With the governments of St. Lucia and Barbados partnering with the U.S. Embassy to promote the speaker program and use their spaces for workshops and public lectures, Dr. Smith will be able to reach a wider audience and have a greater impact on the community.

In Barbados, the free public lecture will be held on Tuesday, April 15th from 6-8 p.m. at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic. This lecture will focus on best practices used by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for the management and ultimate eradication of invasive species, particularly the giant African land snail. Dr. Smith will also discuss the public health, climate change and environmental impact of this invasive species. All members of the public are encouraged to attend.

Throughout the region, the giant African land snail can ravage commercial crop yields, as well as gardens of average households. Because of their ability to transmit human and plant pathogens, these snails have been identified as a quarantine priority in the United States. U.S. quarantine officials have been able to successfully intercept and eradicate incipient invasions in the United States, especially in the state of Florida.

Presently, this type of snail threatens multiple crops in the Eastern Caribbean, resulting in a large but uncalculated drain on the agricultural sector. Snails also threaten the health of citizens as they are carriers of meningitis. In a time of decreasing crop yields due to changing weather patterns, the management and ultimate eradication of the giant African land snail is an important, economic, agricultural, public health, and environmental issue throughout our region.

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