Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata (2017) 164, 188-203
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The Moscamed Regional Programme: review of a success story of area-wide sterile insect technique application
Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 164 (3), 188-203
Abstract: The Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann) (Diptera: Tephritidae), is considered one of the most important pests worldwide because of its direct damage to fruit and vegetable production, and restrictions imposed to commercialization of horticultural commodities by countries free of the pest. It was introduced to Brazil in 1901 and to Costa Rica in 1955, from where it spread across the Central American region, reaching Guatemala and Mexico in 1976 and 1977, respectively. In response, the governments of Guatemala, Mexico, and the USA joined efforts to (1) contain further northward spread of the pest, (2) eradicate it from the areas it had invaded in southern Mexico, and (3) in the longer term eradicate it from Guatemala and eventually from the rest of Central America. To this effect, cooperative agreements were subscribed between the three countries and also between the USA and Belize. This allowed regional cooperation against the Mediterranean fruit fly and the creation of the Moscamed Programme. The programme was the first area-wide large-scale application of the sterile insect technique (SIT) against this pest. By 1982, the Programme had achieved its first two objectives with the containment of the northward advance of the pest, and its eradication from the areas it had invaded in the states of Chiapas and Oaxaca in southern Mexico. Furthermore, by 1985 the Mediterranean fruit fly had been eradicated from areas in Guatemala located at the border with Mexico. Since then, the programme has had years with significant territorial advances in the eradication of the pest from areas within Guatemala, combined with years when it had setbacks resulting in losses of the territorial gains. Nevertheless, during 4 decades, the programme has effectively served as an effective containment barrier maintaining the Mediterranean fruit fly-free status of Belize, Mexico, and the USA. It has also protected and increased the Mediterranean fruit fly-free areas in Guatemala. As a result, it has protected the assets of horticultural producers and contributed during this period to the development of multibillion dollar export industries in these countries. This paper provides an historical review of the programme and describes briefly how technological innovations and decision-making tools have contributed to programme efficiency. It also discusses how non-technical and external factors have limited the eradication process and further programme advance within the Central American region.
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Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
control - general
Pest and/or beneficial records: