The State of Hawaii is planning to release laboratory-reared Wolbachia bacteria-inoculated mosquitoes on Maui. Video of the HDOA Board of Agriculture meeting on 6/28/22 is available to view online. The Wolbachia mosquito agenda items start at 2:55:57. Please take the time to watch (just over one hour long):
A number of supporters and partners of the project spoke and explained many details which were helpful in understanding what is being proposed. However, responses to concerns raised did not adequately address the risks to our birds, environment, or public health.
Mahalo to everyone testifying in opposition to this project. It’s clear that while we all support conservation of Hawaii’s native birds, there are too many potential risks and unknowns here. Many testifiers provided very thoughtful and well-researched information. Over 75% of testimony was in opposition. Some of our community’s concerns include:
“There needs to be a FULL scope Environmental Impact Study before you release an invasive species!”
“…this experiment is being proposed without sufficient public oversight and without sufficient consideration of safety”
“…there may be a major conflict of interest to fast track this project and downplay risks to people!”
“The public deserves to gain the maximum amount of transparency of the pros and cons regarding this proposal”
“I do not agree with using a bacterium on the male mosquito without doing several long-term studies on the effect of this bacterium on human/animal life, transmission rates and reproduction”
“We have seen many examples of good intentions leading to undesirable results”
“This should not be something we rush to do”
“…this is an experiment that has unknown consequences and could cause more harm to our ecological system and human health”
“The people of these islands deserve to be heard and vote on this very subject”
“Do not let our state become another experiment”
“Hawai’i is not a petri dish”
The HDOA board voted to approve both agenda items, and this project is moving forward. Research continues and information on the Wolbachia bacteria mosquito release is till being compiled and updates will be incoming.