Surveillance & Enforcement Unit

The aims and objectives of the Surveillance and Enforcement Unit (Plant Quarantine) are:

Preventing the entry of harmful organisms through examining imported consignments from third countries through identity and physical checks, and accompanying documentation.

Monitoring and surveillance of intra-trade EU commodities (plant and plant products) and local production of plants and plant products (surveys regards EU obligations, plant passports, etc.) to maintain the plant health status of Malta.

This Unit also helps traders, operators and local producers obtain export certification and facilitate export of their produce.

The SEU targets its monitoring and control with regards to Virology, Entomology, Nematology, Bacteriology and Mycology. It also carries out annual surveys in order to monitor the local situation with respect to the pests and diseases indicated in Council Directive 2000/29/EC together with Control and Emergency legislations. Surveys are performed to assess the sanitary conditions of the trees / plants through visual observation and sampling where necessary.

Physical inspections are performed in private or commercial orchards, private gardens, public areas, open fields, greenhouses as well as nurseries and garden centres and were necessary samples are collected. The SEU also performs inspections reported by the general public when quarantine pests / harmful organisms are suspected.

Any samples collected during these surveys are then forwarded for analysis to the Plant Health Diagnostic Laboratories also within the Plant Protection Directorate.

Another role which falls within this unit is the assessment of the potential risk of establishment of emerging new pests and diseases within the Maltese Islands. This work involves the identification of risks related to pathways for introduction, its potential for establishment and probability of introduction taking into account the host plant distribution, climate, strains, vector distribution and pest significance.

The Surveillance and Enforcement Unit technically assists in the preparation of Pest Risk in order to determine the potential introduction of new pests and diseases within the Maltese Islands.​

The Unit also carries out the implementation of action plans and contingency plans for the control and/or eradication of pests and diseases.

The role of the Surveillance and Enforcement Unit, as regards interception and routine sampling of plants and plant products, is basically the stepping-stone to diagnostic investigations in the diagnostic fields.

The Inspectorate and Surveillance Unit (Plant Quarantine) in collaboration with available diagnostic facilities, is expected to promote quality phytosanitary standards and boost agricultural trade in and out of Malta.

To view photos related to pests please click here.​​