Sessional Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development Written Submissions Received Volume 2 Issues associated with the progressive entry into the Northern Territory of Cane Toads October 2003
Tabled Paper 1123
Tabled Papers for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; Tabled papers for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT
Tabled by Delia Lawrie
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Written Submissions Dr Kennett Volume 2 Cane Toad Inquiry Report 137 A bio-control agent for cane toads is believed to be at least 5-10 years away but we should be prepared for it to take 2 or 3 times as long as that. Toad free areas should only be established in concert with a government commitment and adequate resourcing to maintain them for as long as is required to develop alternative control measures. Islands offer the most cost-effective means of establishing toad free zones as the seawater barrier hampers toad colonisation and reduces the probability of toad hitchhikers. However, toads have already colonised many islands presumably under their own steam or through intentional or accidental carriage in boats or planes. There are little data on how toads have got to islands or even what islands they are on. I would recommend undertaking an immediate risk assessment of cane toad colonisation of all islands within the potential range of toads. This would include identifying what islands have been colonised, when and how and what factors facilitate or hamper cane toad colonisation of islands. (Having advocated a risk assessment process, there are several islands such as the Tiwi islands and Croker Island that are obvious places to immediately instigate cane toad quarantine measures. I would not delay implementing such measures while waiting for the risk assessment to be completed) Establishing toad free areas should not be considered in cases where the risk assessment suggests that cane toad colonisation is likely through unassisted transport e.g. short distance between island and mainland, transport in flood debris or flood water from nearby rivers etc, Conservation or biodiversity values should also be considered in the selection of toad free areas. Once an island is identified as being currently free of toads and of low risk of toad invasion then a comprehensive toad quarantine plan should be developed. This should include identifying all points of entry both by regular transport services and private boats, local land holders, communities, existing ranger programs, existing quarantine measures etc. Mainland areas where toad travel can feasibly be stopped at a barrier such as at the neck of a peninsular should also be considered. I understand that the committee will receive submissions about a toad barrier on the Coburg Peninsula. Toad containment, control and quarantine measures Research is needed into the most effective methods for control, identification and destruction of toads that invade toad free areas or breach quarantine zones. This could include artificial refuges and water points, patrols and searches, fences and barriers etc. Toads are believed to possess olfactory capabilities hence there may have been some research (or at least speculation) into the use of chemical attractants or pheromones to locate toads. These may be useful when used in addition to physical barriers and should be explored. Barges are likely to be a major source of accidental toad carriage to islands. Measures might include surrounding barge landings with a cleared area and a toad proof fences and artificial refuges and watering points, attractants such as lights (toads attracted to insects as food sources) or chemical attractants (see above), as well as inspections and quarantine periods of unloaded materials to detect any hidden toads.