BCANZ website provides valuable tool for managing introduced organisms

The Biological Control Agents introduced to New Zealand (BCANZ) database is now available to help regulators and researchers find information on biological control agents that have been introduced to New Zealand to help manage weed and invertebrate pests.

The database currently contains records for 720 introductions of 518 biological control agents against 126 targets (25 weeds and 101 invertebrates). This information is being constantly updated.

Initiated originally by the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA NZ), BCANZ is now maintained by Better Border Biosecurity (B3).

The database includes information for each organism on the date it was imported, where it was imported from, whether or not it was eventually released into the New Zealand environment, how many organisms were released and when and if the organism established in New Zealand. A comprehensive set of references enables users to locate further information about each agent.

The database is searchable by both target organism and by biocontrol agent.

BCANZ was first made available to the public in 2007. It is used by a variety of parties including regulators, the Department of Conservation, applicants for new introductions and researchers.

Dr Geoff Ridley, Science Manager (New Organisms) at ERMA NZ says that BCANZ helps ERMA to fulfil its role in regulating new organisms by providing a definitive list of all known introduced organisms. 

He says that it gives ERMA NZ and applicants for new introductions “some insight as to what might be useful based on past experience” as well as “the opportunity to look back and try to determine why certain things were successful while others were unsuccessful.”

“BCANZ is going to be useful as a long-term tool to drive research and evaluation of new biocontrol agents,” he says.