H.R. NO.













requesting a moratorium on the release of biological control agents for the environmental management of plant species that also serve as food resources.



     WHEREAS, according to the 2008 Department of Agriculture's white paper, Food Self-Sufficiency in Hawaii, "[b]etween 85-90% of Hawaii's food is imported, which makes it particularly vulnerable to natural disasters and global events that might disrupt shipping and the food supply"; and


     WHEREAS, according to the State environmental policy guidelines, section 344-4(2)(A), Hawaii Revised Statutes, "[I]n pursuance of the state policy to conserve the natural resources and enhance the quality of life, all agencies, in the development of programs, shall, insofar as practicable . . . [e]ncourage management practices which conserve and fully utilize all natural resources"; and


     WHEREAS, the current economic crisis has created financial hardship for many Hawaii residents, who are now finding it increasingly difficult to afford to buy food; and


     WHEREAS, state projections indicate that the current financial crisis will probably continue over the next several years; and


     WHEREAS, in addition to commercial agriculture in Hawaii, there is an abundance of plant food resources growing wild in the forests and parks, such as guava, strawberry guava, mango, avocado, thimble berry, banana poka, passion fruit, and other plants; many of these natural resources also grow in neighborhoods and in backyards for both commercial and private use; and these food resources are an important part of food self-sufficiency; and


     WHEREAS, some of these food plants are currently considered to be weeds in certain environmental locations and are frequently managed by the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Land and Natural Resources using biological control methods, which involves releasing insects, fungi, bacteria, viruses, or other pathogens to attack specific species; and


     WHEREAS, the use of biological control for weed management of a food plant species threatens the beneficial uses of that species, since the insect, fungus, bacteria, virus, or other pathogen may spread to other areas where the targeted species is considered desirable; as a result, attacking a food plant with biological control agents can eliminate the ability to use the food plant anywhere the biological control agent can be spread, including in neighborhoods, backyards, and on other private and public property, denying residents the ability to grow that food plant on private property, or to gather that food plant in the wild, thus, severely curtailing the ability of residents to utilize these food resources and achieve food self-sufficiency; and


WHEREAS, the release of biological control agents could be irreversible and irrevocable; now, therefore,


     BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Twenty-fifth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2009, that the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Land and Natural Resources are requested to institute a five-year moratorium throughout the State on the use and release of biological control agents that could have a detrimental impact on food resources, affording the public the opportunity to use our State's natural resources to feed themselves and their families, and to improve the food self-sufficiency and sustainability of our State; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Land and Natural Resources are requested instead to employ other methods of weed control for wild food plants that do not interfere with the ability of residents to grow, gather, and enjoy these natural food resources; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to the Chairperson of the Board of Agriculture and the Chairperson of the Board of Land and Natural Resources.









Report Title: 

Moratorium; Biological Control Agents; Food Resources