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AGM Critical Response Plan
To Prevent the Incursion of AGM via Marine Vessels

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Table of Contents

Contact and Review

This procedure will be reviewed and updated as required. The contact for the review of this document is the National Manager of the Invasive Alien Species and Domestic Programs Section, Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).


Approved by:


Gregory Wolff, Chief Plant Health Officer



Amendment Record

Amendments to this document will be given consecutive numbers. Amendments to this document will be posted on the CFIA website. With hardcopy documents, insert all amendments, remove obsolete pages and ensure the record below is completed.

Number of amendment: Amended by: Date of submission for approval of amendment: Summary of amendment and number of amended page(s):


  1. Directive e-mail list (CFIA regional offices, CFIA Plant Health Risk Assessment Unit, United States Department of Agriculture)
  2. Provincial Government, Industry (determined by Author)
  3. Other Government Departments (determined by Author)
  4. Website


This document is limited to the response measures that may be ordered when life stages suspected to be AGM are found on ships during the Canadian risk period. Even with the regulations and pre-departure inspection programs in place, there is a possibility that a ship infested with life stages of Lymantria species may still arrive in Canadian waters. This document outlines procedures to reduce the risk of establishment of a viable population in Canada from hatching egg masses and larvae dispersing from ships.

The species of concern are those that are absent from Canada, including Lymantria albescens, Lymantria umbrosa, Lymantria postalba, and the Asian strains of Lymantria dispar, together commonly referred to as AGM. Since these species are not known to occur in North America, their introduction would represent a serious threat to Canada's environment and economy. Therefore, any detection must be dealt with in an immediate and effective manner. The CFIA strongly recommends that shipping companies, ship owners, and those who charter vessels apply all preventative measures prior to arrival in Canadian ports. These measures can minimize the potential for regulatory action in Canada and the associated costs of response actions.

Past Interceptions and Regulation of AGM

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, far eastern Russia experienced an outbreak of AGM. During this period, ships calling on ports in far eastern Russia were known to have transported egg masses to Canada's west coast ports. Larvae hatched from these egg masses, dispersed from ships within the port of Vancouver, and were able to establish a small population in the Vancouver area. At significant financial and public cost (six million dollars), a large scale control program was initiated, and the population was successfully eradicated. Since that time, Canada has had strict regulations in place requiring pre-departure inspection of any ship that has called on ports where AGM is known to occur. As successive detections were made on vessels that called on other areas in eastern Asia, regulation was initially expanded to select ports in Japan and has since been expanded to all ports in Japan and South Korea, and all Chinese ports north of Shanghai (defined as all ports on or north of 31°15' north latitude).

Current Regulations

As described in detail in the CFIA policy directive D-95-03: "Plant protection policy for marine vessels arriving in Canada from areas regulated for AGM (Lymantria dispar, Lymantria albescens, Lymantria postalba, Lymantria umbrosa)", vessels that have called on regulated areas are subject to CFIA import requirements. Vessels that have visited ports in regulated areas during specified flight periods must have a pre-departure inspection and obtain a Phytosanitary Certificate or other approved certificate(s) verifying that they are free of all life stages of AGM. This certification is a requirement for entry into Canada during Canada's risk period for AGM. All vessels calling on Canada are subject to inspection for the presence of AGM life stages. Inspection is considered the most effective way to prevent the introduction of AGM.

The CFIA will apply regulatory action upon detection of any suspect AGM life stage. Any ship found to be infested with life stages of AGM during the high risk period must leave Canadian waters immediately. For the purposes of this policy, the CFIA uses the territorial sea as the limit of Canadian waters (12 nautical miles). Vessels within inland waters or at berth that cannot immediately be removed from Canadian waters will be subject to the inland response plan described in section 6.3.

1.0 Scope

This plan is intended to give direction to agencies and parties impacted by the detection of AGM life stages on vessels arriving in Canada. This may include the CFIA; vessel operators, owners, or those that charter ships; their agents; port authorities; Transport Canada; Canadian Coast Guard; Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA); and other stakeholders who may be affected.

This document has been developed in consultation with stakeholders and scientific advisors to address situations where there is an immediate or imminent risk of emergence of AGM larvae from a ship. In these cases, immediate measures must be taken to mitigate the risk of spread to nearby land.

2.0 References

D-95-03: Plant Protection Policy for Marine Vessels Arriving in Canada from Areas Regulated for AGM (Lymantria dispar, Lymantria albescens, Lymantria postalba, Lymantria umbrosa)

The Plant Protection Act, S.C. 1990, c. 22
The Plant Protection Regulations, SOR/95-212
Canadian Food Inspection Agency Fees Notice, Canada Gazette, Part I,

3.0 Definitions, Abbreviations and Acronyms

Definitions for terms used in the present document can be found in the Plant Health Glossary of Terms or the International Plant Protection Convention ISPM 5 Glossary of Terms (

4.0 Responsibilities

Along with the CFIA, various agencies and companies are involved in the response to the detection of suspect AGM on a vessel.

4.1 CFIA

Under Canada's Plant Protection Act, the CFIA is the federal regulatory body responsible for dealing with incursions of quarantine pests such as AGM and, accordingly, will take the lead in the implementation of the response plan.

The CFIA performs import inspections on vessels to determine compliance with import requirements and to mitigate the risk of introduction of AGM. If any life stages of AGM are found, the CFIA will order the vessel to leave Canadian waters (except under those circumstances outlined in Section 6.3) and may order the vessel to conduct any control actions or specific measures deemed necessary to rid the vessel of life stages of AGM.

4.2 Vessel Owners, Operators and Representatives

Those responsible for the vessel (which can include the vessel owner, the authorized representative, the party who charters the vessel and the local agent) are responsible for carrying out any containment actions ordered by the CFIA (such as those outlined in Section 6.2) and will bear all associated costs. Shore-based crews may need to be hired to carry out the control actions or to assist the vessel's crew. The vessel will be required to provide the materials and means needed for any control actions. This can include equipment for the search and removal of egg masses or hiring of a pest control company to apply pesticide, as ordered.

5.0 Detection of AGM

5.1 Egg Masses

Egg masses can be laid anywhere on the vessel, but tend to be in areas that are lit at night, such as near deck lights and lights on the superstructure. Unfortunately, lighting in the port of origin often contributes to egg mass deposition on a ship. Searchers and cleaners should be aware of these possible light sources as well. Egg masses may be found on exposed surfaces, but are more commonly found in protected or partially hidden areas.

When egg masses are present, timely control action is required to reduce the risk of potential hatching while the vessel is close to Canadian shores. The priority is to remove the vessel from Canadian waters so that the egg masses can be removed with minimal risk to the Canadian environment.

Upon initial detection of an egg mass, the CFIA inspectors will immediately inform the agent and captain of the vessel. At this time, the inspector will also inform the agent and captain of the vessel that preparations must begin to have the vessel depart Canadian waters. Inspection of the vessel will continue until the vessel departs, environmental conditions no longer allow for inspection, or as determined by the inspector. Any egg masses found will be removed and collected by the CFIA.

5.2 Emerging Larvae

The presence of emerging larvae requires immediate control action to reduce the risk of introducing and establishing an AGM population on shore. The priority is to prevent the larvae from moving from the ship to adjacent land by ordering the vessel out of Canadian waters. The time available for control action may be very short, depending on the time of day and weather conditions. Newly hatched larvae climb toward overhead light in preparation for dispersal. The larvae then disperse by spinning long silken threads, which in combination with their fine textured body hairs, allow them to be carried by the wind. Larvae can be carried very long distances, especially when travelling on wind currents over water. This dispersal behaviour is known as ballooning and can occur fairly soon after hatching.

6.0 Response

As required by the CFIA's policy directive D-95-03, all vessels, other than those that meet the criteria of Section 6.3, found infested with suspect AGM egg masses must depart immediately from Canadian waters. If there is an immediate or imminent danger of emergence of AGM larvae, additional measures must be taken to mitigate the risk of spread to nearby land.

After initial egg mass detection on a ship, and the ship being ordered to leave Canadian waters, an immediate visual search may be conducted for additional egg masses and/or larvae. Removal and destruction of egg masses, as per Appendix 1, directly reduces the risk posed by an infested ship.

CFIA inspectors will instruct the ship's crew on techniques used to detect and collect egg masses. It should be emphasized that the crew take their time and do a thorough inspection. Any egg masses or larvae found must be collected and retained in an airtight container to hand over to the CFIA at the time of re-inspection.

6.1 Movement of the Ship from Canadian Shores

Whenever egg masses suspected to be AGM are found on a ship during the risk period (as defined in D-95-03), the ship is subject to regulatory action, which includes movement of the vessel outside of Canadian waters (12 nm).

In such circumstances, the ship's captain and agent will be notified in writing that the ship must leave Canadian waters. The Canadian Coast Guard will be notified by the CFIA so that the vessel's movements can be tracked. It is anticipated that there may be a short delay due to practical requirements (i.e. arranging for pilot, linesmen, draft survey, etc.) but every reasonable effort must be made to minimize this delay. In the interim, if emergence is imminent or if larvae are emerging, arrangements must be made immediately for containment via the options described in Section 6.2 Moving a ship through coastal waters, even while larvae are ballooning, is meant to reduce the risk of introduction as the likelihood that individual larvae will land together in any one area in sufficient numbers is reduced.

While the ship is preparing to leave, a search should be conducted for additional egg masses and any that are found must be removed. If the CFIA inspector suspects that larvae are about to hatch from an egg mass, containment measures, as described in Section 6.2, may be ordered.

In some circumstances, it may be possible that the ship is ready to leave before the treatments are fully implemented. In these cases, CFIA inspectors may accompany the ship a substantial distance to supervise or coordinate the treatments.

6.2 Containment

Removal and destruction of egg masses directly reduces the risk posed by an infested ship. Larvae ballooning off a ship represent a critical risk and immediate action is required. Any ship with a detection of suspect AGM must leave Canadian waters immediately. Dispersing larvae must be impeded using any or all of the following containment methods described below to reduce the risk of establishing a population on shore. Containment options should be used in conjunction with the ship leaving Canadian waters when larval emergence is imminent or occurring. Containment measures are not a substitute for moving the ship out of Canadian waters.

Note that Section 6.3 states the requirements that apply to vessels in inland waters.

6.2.1 Ordering Approved Treatment for Emerging and Ballooning Larvae

Ballooning larvae may be contained with pesticides that have been registered for use on marine vessels. The pesticides registered for use in Canada for this purpose are listed in Appendix 1. This type of treatment is meant to reduce the larvae's ability to balloon and may cause some insect mortality. Treatment must be applied by a provincially licensed pesticide applicator.

CFIA inspectors will direct the response efforts. The agent will be responsible for arranging timely delivery of personnel and pesticides to the vessel.

6.2.2 Water from Onboard Hoses

The ship's fire hoses may be used to interrupt the ballooning of larvae. The spray should be used so that it rains down on the egg masses and ballooning larvae without blowing them off the ship. Although some larvae may enter the water, the risk that they may come ashore and establish a breeding population is reduced.

6.3 Ships in Inland Waters and Ships Unable to Leave Port

Vessels that are located in Ontario and Quebec waterways at ports west of and including Les Escoumins are considered to be in inland waters for the purpose of this document. In the case where an infested ship is in inland waters, the CFIA may order the vessel away from Canadian shores for egg mass removal or may order egg mass removal and treatment in port depending on the geographic location and the specifics of the waterway. There may also be circumstances where an infested ship, not in inland waters, is unable to leave port immediately due to location, safety, or mechanical reasons.

In all cases, egg masses must be removed. The vessel crew may be ordered to remove and destroy egg masses or assist the CFIA in removing and collecting the egg masses. If emergence is imminent, CFIA may order treatment. Arrangements for pesticide treatment must be made immediately by the ship. Until the registered pesticide is ready to be applied, larvae that are about to hatch should be treated with water spray as described in Section 6.2.2 and as directed by CFIA inspectors.

6.4 Vessels Discharging Cargo in Canadian Ports

Vessels that are discharging cargo in Canadian ports represent a potential risk for the introduction and spread of AGM to North America. For the purposes of this document cargo is considered to be containers, vehicles, and breakbulk goods.

The CFIA will consider the cargo type, loading ports, and environmental factors in order to determine if inspection of the cargo is necessary. If significant infestation is discovered on a vessel that is discharging cargo, the risk of cargo infestation may also be higher.

CFIA inspection staff may place regulatory control on some or all containers, vehicles, or breakbulk cargo. This could include, but is not limited to, movement restrictions, visual inspection, and pesticide treatment. Any cargo already released from the port may also be subject to regulatory control.

Appendix 1: Methods for Removal and Treatment of Egg Masses


Every effort should be made to collect the entire egg mass. The use of flat blades (e.g. knife, scraper) can assist in the collection of the egg mass. It is advisable to hold a plastic bag beneath the mass for collection. For difficult to reach areas or where there is no direct visual access, a second person may be required to hold an extending mirror to assist with the entire removal of the mass.

CFIA inspection staff will provide the ship's crew with instructions on inspection techniques. The ship's officers will be instructed to retain all egg masses collected during cleaning for collection by the CFIA upon re-inspection.

In cases where environmental and/or egg mass conditions warrant, petroleum jelly (Vaseline) may be used to ensure that the egg mass stays intact for collection. Egg masses and larvae should be stored in airtight containers to prevent their escape. Specimens should be stored in the refrigerator until they are collected by CFIA inspection staff.


Pesticide treatment for AGM either on a vessel or in the surrounding port area should be done in cooperation with, and under the direction of, the CFIA. Pesticides must be registered for use in Canada and the application of any registered pesticide should be done by a provincially licensed pesticide applicator.

Golden Pest Spray Oil has been granted emergency use registration for application on ships in the case of emerging or ballooning larva. Consult the product label for all safety and application directions.

Registration may exist for pesticides to conduct treatment of vegetation surrounding the port area where a detection of ballooning larvae has been made. The appropriate product must be selected by a provincially licensed pesticide applicator and approved by CFIA.

Appendix 2: Contact Information for CFIA Offices

CFIA Office Telephone (monitored after hours) Email Address (AGM specific)
Vancouver, BC 604-666-3837
Dartmouth, NS 902-426-3874
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