AGM Certification Mandatory At Ports In These Countries


  • Canada and the United States extend the time period where AGM certification is required for vessels calling at certain ports in Japan and Russia.
  • It is in an effort to decrease the risk of this destructive forest pest spreading via marine vessels into North America.

A recent news article published in the Gard states that prepare for a longer ’AGM moth’ season in 2022.

Canada and the United States (US)

Canada and the United States (US) have a long history of enforcing a joint pre-departure inspection and certification program for vessels visiting ports in Asia Pacific that are infested with AGM (formerly known as the ‘Asian gypsy moth’). An important consideration to the success of this program is understanding when there is a high risk of moth flight and egg-mass deposition on marine vessels. This period is known as the specified risk period (SRP) and is determined based on factors such as trapping data, AGM inspection results, and climate conditions in each port.

As several years have elapsed since the program’s original SPRs were adopted, the AGM Expert Group (EG) of the North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO) has gathered recent information and data and carried out a review of the SPRs in all AGM-regulated countries, i.e. China, Japan, Republic of Korea, and Russia. The group’s findings and conclusions are presented in “NAPPO Position Document 07” and include recommendations to:

  • Adjust the AGM regions for Japan in order to better reflect the actual climatic conditions in each port.
  • Extend the start and end dates of the SPRs for regulated areas in Japan and Russia.
  • Maintain the original SPRs for China and South Korea.
  • Reduce the total number of SPRs from six to four to make it simpler for stakeholders to comply with the AGM requirements.

AGM program policies

Both Canada and the US have now implemented the above recommendation in their respective AGM program policies and procedures. Hence, beginning in 2022, the two countries base their pre-departure certification requirements on the following definition of regulated areas and specified risk periods:

East Russia

Nakhodka, Ol’ga, Plastun, Pos’yet, Russkiy Island, Slavyanka, Vanino, Vladivostok Vostochny, Zarubino, Kozmino

1 Jul – 30 Sep 15 Jun – 15 Oct

All ports in northern China, including all ports north of Shanghai (defined as all ports on or north of 31°15′ N latitude)

1 Jun – 30 Sep 1 Jun – 30 Sep
South Korea

All ports

1 Jun – 30 Sep 1 Jun – 30 Sep
Japan – Northern

Hokkaido, Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Akita*Yamagata*, Fukushima

1 Jul – 30 Sep 15 Jun – 15 Oct
Japan Central (2022) Japan – Western (2021)

Niigata, Toyama, Ishikawa,

25 Jun – 15 Sep 1 Jun – 30 Sep
Japan – Eastern (2021)

Fukui, Ibaraki, Chiba, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Shizuoka, Aichi, Mie

20 Jun – 20 Aug
Japan – Southern

Wakayama, Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Tottori, Shimane, Okayama, Hiroshima, Yamaguchi, Kagawa, Tokushima, Ehime, Kochi, Fukuoka, Oita, Saga, Nagasaki, Miyazaki, Kumamoto, Kagoshima

1 Jun – 10 Aug 15 May – 31 Aug
Japan – Far Southern


25 May – 30 Jun 25 May – 30 Jun
* Akita and Yamagata were in Western SRP region of Japan in 2021


For vessels trading to ports in North America, the revised SPRs means that the time period where AGM certification is required for vessels that have called at ports in Japan and Russia has been increased/lengthened. However, for the first year of implementation (2022), a transition between the old and new AGM program policy will be in place. For example, a vessel that received its AGM certificate when the old risk periods were in place (2021 SRP) will not be penalised if it has not returned to one of the regulated areas in the year that the new risk periods came into force (2022 SRP).

It should be noted that, although the US and Canada are in full agreement on the requirement for AGM pre-departure inspection and certification, due to national regulations and policies there are still differences in the port entry processes between the two countries. For additional details on the two countries’ AGM clearance procedures, please refer to the:

Other countries that regulate and inspect arriving vessels for AGM

In addition to Canada and the US, countries currently known to regulate and inspect arriving vessels for AGM are Chile, Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand.

While the purpose of the regulation is the same in each country, that is, to prevent incursions of AGM, there is no uniform international definition of the AGM regulated areas or SPRs. However, according to NAPPO, discussions between regulating countries have taken place and will continue to ensure that AGM program alignment is maintained to the highest degree possible. Hence, the group’s recommended revisions of SRP dates could therefore have an impact on AGM programs in other regulating countries as well.

Please go to Gard’s webpage Frequently asked questions – managing ‘AGM moth’ risks for a complete overview of each country’s current AGM regulations as well as links to relevant government websites.


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. For vessels trading to North American ports, relevant onboard procedures should also be updated to reflect the revised SRP dates in Japan and Russia. 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, and how the eggs should be removed and destroyed.

For vessels that call, or have called, at AGM-regulated ports with restrictions due to COVID-19 that affect the availability of inspection and certification services, it should be considered if it is possible to arrange for AGM inspection and certification in a port that does not have such restrictions, e.g. through a branch office of one of the recognised inspection bodies that provide service outside of the regulated area. We also recommend obtaining a written notice of refusal from the port that refused the AGM inspection and certification due local COVID-19 restrictions. If a vessel operator believes there were circumstances that prevented them from obtaining AGM certification this should be provided to the relevant authorities for review.

Changes to the common name for Asian gypsy moth (AGM)

As part of a program to review and replace insect common names that may be inappropriate or offensive, the Entomological Society of America (ESA) has decided to remove ‘gypsy moth’ as a recognised common name for a complex of closely related Lymantria species. A new common name for the moth species is currently under review.

Until a final conclusion on a new common name has been made, we will refer to the group of moths making up the AGM complex by their scientific names, Lymantria dispar asiatica, Lymantria dispar japonica, Lymantria umbrosa, Lymantria postalba and Lymantria albescens, or the short form ‘AGM’.

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


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Source: Gard


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