A very interesting story is developing on the first report of Red Palm Weevil from Willemstad, Curacao, Caribbean. This report of Rhynchophorus ferrugineus from Curacao has generated quite a bit of discussion and controversy. Hugh has commented and questioned the veracity of the R. ferrugineus species from Curacao. He wanted Gerard van Buurt of Curacao to look in to the identification of the pest. Benedikt shared his information about the export of a few date palms from Egypt to Curacao through some landscapists and the possible presence of RPW. Ajlan wanted more stringent national and international quarantine measures.
We have deviated quite a bit away from our main topic of discussion. Here the point we want to know is whether the report of R. ferrugineus from Curacao is correct or not. If somebody is expressing doubts, then it should be cleared beyond any iota of doubt. For this purpose, we need to know complete details about this matter, from a cross section of people belonging to this particular region especially Gerard van Buurt and also Hugh. Once it is confirmed that RPW, R. ferrugineus indeed is present, then all palms including imported date palms (ornamental) and also coconut palms abounding in the region should be monitored by the local authorities.
Next point that comes to mind is the distribution and coexistence of two species of palm weevils, R. palmarum and R. ferrugineus at the same place. If so, which one is more dominating and how is the newly reported species finding its feet in the new region? What are its preferred host plants? Likewise several other aspects need to be explored by researchers and the stake holders like farmers, landscapists, policy makers etc should be informed about the ill effects of the new species in their environment. Public and private sector should work together in tackling this problem more effectively. Not only this but other countries in the region should be alerted and a regional conference called immediately to address the impending problem.
Although stringent international quarantine laws are in place, there are several loopholes in the procedures and methods adopted. Certainly FAO /IPPO/EPPO can initiate action in coordinating the regional groups and expert panels to recommend tangible actions. However, it is the responsibility of individual governments to take appropriate action in arresting the spread of this menace.