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Australia’s heightened vessel surveillance for Asian gypsy moth (AGM) commenced at the turn of the year and in New Zealand, new AGM requirements enters into force on 1 February 2018.

The Asian Gypsy Moth (AGM) is a destructive forest pest known to spread via ocean-going vessels in international trade. Vessels calling at certain ports in Asia Pacific between May and September should therefore be inspected and “certified free of AGM” prior to departure. These inspections are undertaken to minimise the potential for regulatory action when arriving in a country where the pest is not native.

Countries currently known to regulate and inspect arriving vessels for AGM are: The United States (US), Canada, Chile, Australia and New Zealand.

Gard’s updated “Frequently asked questions - managing Asian Gypsy Moth risks” provides answers to some of the questions raised by our Members and clients. It summarises the requirements set forth by each of the regulating countries and provides links to relevant government websites. The following should be noted for the 2018 AGM season:

  • Australia announced in its Industry Advice Notice No. 06-2018 of 19 January 2018 that the heightened vessel surveillance window for its ports had commenced. The heightened vessel surveillance window for AGM in Australian ports is between January and May of each year. Vessels that in the previous 24 months, have visited AGM regulated areas in East Russia during the moth’s flight season will be risk assessed by the Australian authorities to determine the need for a targeted AGM inspection on arrival.
  • New Zealand extended its list of AGM regulated areas in the Asia Pacific prior to the 2016 AGM flight season and has now formalised its AGM requirements through the Craft Risk Management Standard (CRMS) for Vessels which enters into force on 1 February 2018. The CRMS continues to require vessels that, in the past 12 months, have visited AGM regulated areas in China, East Russia, Japan or Korea during the AGM flight season to provide a valid certificate of freedom of AGM upon arrival in New Zealand. However, new for the 2018 AGM flight season is that the pre-departure certificates must be obtained from an inspection body recognised by the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI). For vessels that visited AGM regulated areas during the 2017 AGM flight season, the MPI will continue to accept pre-departure certificates provided by one of the inspection bodies listed in its Notice to Shipping: New Zealand's Measures for Asian Gypsy Moth on Vessels (for 2017 flight season).
  • Canada,the US and Chile continue to require vessels that, in the past 24 months, have visited one of the AGM infested areas in China, East Russia, Japan or Korea during the AGM flight season to provide a valid certificate of freedom of AGM upon arrival. Worth noting, however, is that Chile’s definition of regulated areas includes ports located between 20°and 60° N latitude and may therefore include southern ports in the Asia Pacific that are not regulated by some of the other countries.


Members and clients with vessels calling ports in East Russia, Japan, Korea, and Northern China are advised to remind their Masters of the approaching AGM flight season. The importance of arriving in regulating countries free of AGM and of providing port officials with the required AGM documentation prior to arrival should be emphasised and instructions for proper AGM self-inspections en route should be made available onboard.

Guides for conducting vessel self-inspections have been published by various authorities and are available to download. Examples are the Canadian authorities’ “Inspect Before Entry“ and the US authorities’ “Gypsy Moth Inspectional Pocket Guide”. The guides provide helpful instructions to vessel crews on what the egg masses look like, where they might be found onboard the vessels, and how the eggs should be removed and destroyed.


A printer friendly pdf-version of Gard’s FAQ on managing AGM risks is available here.