National Plant Board

Plant Quarantine, Nursery Inspection, and Certification Guidelines

Appendix F

National Plant Board Principles of Plant Quarantine

1. DEFINITION. A quarantine is a restriction, imposed by duly constituted authorities, whereby the production, movement or existence of plants, plant products, animals, animal products, or any other article or material, or the normal activity of persons, is brought under regulation, in order that the introduction or spread of a pest may be prevented or limited, or in order that a pest already introduced may be controlled or eradicated, thereby reducing or avoiding losses that would otherwise occur through damage done by the pest or through a continuing cost of control measures.

(1) The purpose of this paragraph is to clarify thought in the minds of the public, to indicate the scope of plant quarantines, and to set forth briefly the what and why of a quarantine.

2. BASIS IN LOGIC. Since the ends to be attained by a quarantine and the measures required by it could not be undertaken by private individuals or groups, involving as they do restrictions on areas, persons, or activities for the benefit of wider interests or the public at large, resort to regulation imposed by public authority is logical.

(2) The logical foundation for quarantine action is defined and attention is directed to the fact that private or group action cannot take the place of a regulation imposed by public authority.

3. NECESSITY. Establishment of a quarantine should rest on fundamental prerequisites, as follows: (1) the pest concerned must be of such nature as to offer actual or expected threat to substantial interests; (2) the proposed quarantine must represent a necessary or desirable measure for which no other substitute, involving less interference with normal activities, is available; (3) the objective of the quarantine, either for preventing introduction or for limiting spread, must be reasonable of expectation; (4) the economic gains expected must outweigh the cost of administration and the interference with normal activities.

(3) Four substantial prerequisites of quarantine action are set forth. It is believed that these four, as defined, are self-explanatory. Thus, if the pest concerned is not one which offers either actual or expected threat to substantial interests, it should not involve the machinery and restrictions of a quarantine. If some measure is available and presumably effective which is less costly or burdensome than a quarantine, that measure should be the one adopted. If the quarantine cannot be expected to accomplish anything its promulgation is questionable. If the economic gains from a quarantine are likely to be less than the cost of it, including the economic losses that it occasions, it cannot be defended.

4. LEGAL SANCTION. A quarantine must derive from adequate law and authority and must operate within the provisions of such law.

(4) Promulgation of a quarantine which does not have behind it statutes or authority adequate to permit its enforcement is an invitation to annulment. Where such authority does not exist, it should be sought.

5. VALIDITY. A quarantine established for the purpose of attaining an objective other than that which it indicates or defines is open to serious criticism, even though the actual objective is itself desirable.

(5) The purpose of this paragraph is to point out the danger inherent in a quarantine which, though presumably intended for control of a pest or similar purposes, is actually based on another objective, such as furtherance of trade.

6. PUBLIC NOTICE. If the circumstances will permit, public notice of a proposed quarantine should be given and those interested should be invited to contribute facts in their possession. But if the objective would be defeated by the delay required for such notice and discussion, duly-constituted authorities should assume responsibility for the decision to impose or withhold quarantine action.

(6) The principle is submitted that public notice of a proposed quarantine is desirable when possible, but on the other hand public notice should not be absolutely required, because occasion may arise when to delay until public notice can be given would mean defeat of a critically important objective.

7. SCOPE. The extent of restrictions imposed by a quarantine should be only such as are believed necessary to accomplish the desired end, but on the other hand the objective of a quarantine should not be jeopardized by omission of any necessary restriction.

(7) The principle here involved is one of adequate measures to accomplish the necessary end, but along with this the exercise of care not to impose unnecessary restrictions.

8. RELATION TO ERADICATION. If a quarantine is imposed in order that eradication of a pest from a given area may be undertaken, the restrictions involved may properly be relatively extensive, because of the importance of the objective sought, and because the time through which the quarantine will operate may be expected to be relatively limited.

9. RELATION TO RETARDING SPREAD. If a quarantine is imposed for the purpose of limiting or retarding spread of a pest, but without expectation of eradication, the restrictions imposed should be such as are in line with the objective of the quarantine and should recognize the fact that continuance of the pest in the area where it is established, or possibly its spread in time to new areas, is accepted.

(8) and (9) An important distinction is set forth in these two paragraphs. It is submitted that a quarantine based on the hope of actual eradication of a threatening pest may properly involve more severe restrictions than those permissible in a quarantine which can hope only to retard spread. In the former case the objective to be gained is greater, the time through which the measure will prevail is presumably more limited, and the restrictions imposed may legitimately be more severe. In the latter case, the actual objective should be clearly understood and the measures adopted should be such as are allowable in view of the end sought.

10. COOPERATING AUTHORITIES. Since quarantines usually involve relations between public authorities, such as those of the government of one country with that of another, or of Federal and State governments, or of State government and local authorities, the cooperative relationship that is necessary to adequate enforcement should be clearly recognized and duly provided for.

(10) The cooperative relationships which are nearly always involved in a quarantine should be recognized and should be provided for in the measures proposed.

11. COOPERATION OF THE PUBLIC. Because of the fact that the success of a quarantine requires that its restrictions be fully maintained, it is essential that all persons who are affected by it adhere to its requirements. In order that this end may be attained the administration of a quarantine should seek the intelligent cooperation of the public affected, rather than depend exclusively on police powers, the imposition of penalties, or resort to court action.

(11) The fact is here pointed out that a successful quarantine means complete adherence to its provisions on the part of all concerned. Since usually very large numbers of the public are involved, cooperation of the public should be sought.

12. CLARITY. In order that a quarantine may be administered readily and consistently, it should be designed with care, should be phrased clearly, and should be made as simple as is consistent with legal requirements and the objectives to be attained.

(12) Quarantines have a tendency toward complexity. Sometimes this is inevitable. To meet this difficulty, special effort should be made to phrase a quarantine order in the clearest and most logical language possible.

13. INFORMATION SERVICE. Since the persons affected by a quarantine may not reasonably be expected to possess full or accurate knowledge of the circumstances that make it necessary, or the nature and importance of the aim sought, and since compliance with quarantine restrictions will be more complete if the objective and plans are understood, measures should be taken to set forth the conditions existing, the means to be employed, and the end to be attained, and these measures should be continued from time to time as the undertaking proceeds toward accomplishment.

(13) The fact is recognized that any quarantine is likely to be criticized from time to time, and sometimes seriously so. Much criticism arises from an imperfect understanding of the objective of the quarantine and the necessity for its provisions. It is submitted, therefore, that constant and consistent effort should be made to keep the public advised as to the actual objectives of a given measure and the reasons why it imposes the restrictions that it involves.

14. RESEARCH. If an emergency requires the establishment of a quarantine before satisfactory biological data are available, provision should be made as soon as possible for extending the fund of biological knowledge. The authority that exercises the right to establish a quarantine should command or secure the means for biological research, both in order that the quarantine may be made more efficient, and in order that the restrictions may be lessened where possible. The need for research, however, should not be permitted to delay the establishment of a quarantine believed by authorities to be desirable, thereby jeopardizing the objective that might otherwise have been attained.

(14) The purpose of this paragraph is to recognize, on the one hand, the fact that very often a quarantine must be set up before even reasonably complete knowledge of the pest concerned is available; and, on the other hand, the fact that study of the pest, and of many other phases of the matter, should go on, in order that wise improvements may be possible. These improvements may consist of additional necessary restrictions not appreciated at the start, or they may include relaxation of certain restrictions not found necessary.

15. MODIFICATIONS. As conditions change, or as further facts become available, a quarantine should promptly be modified, either by inclusion of restrictions necessary to its success or by removal of requirements found not to be necessary. The obligation to modify a quarantine as conditions develop is a continuing obligation and should have continuing attention.

16. REPEAL. If a quarantine has attained its objective, or if the progress of events has clearly proved that the desired end is not possible of attainment by the restrictions adopted, the measure should be promptly reconsidered, either with a view or repeal or with intent of substituting other measures.

(15) and (16) Just as there should be readiness to take prompt action in imposing restrictions, so also there should be readiness to take equally prompt action in relaxing them or repealing them, when the progress of events indicates such changes to be proper and safe.

17. NOTICES TO PARTIES AT INTEREST. Upon establishment of a quarantine, and upon institution of modifications or repeal, notices should be sent to the principal parties at interest, especially to Federal and State authorities and to organizations representing the public involved in the restrictive measures.

(17) This is essentially a matter of helpful practice, based on the fact that various parties, including quarantine officers of other jurisdictions, should know promptly of any changes in the quarantine structure.

18. BOUNDARIES. In defining the boundaries of a quarantined area, it is usually desirable to utilize state, county or township lines. However, if a suitable natural feature such as a mountain range or a large river more satisfactorily defines the actual area, such natural features should be utilized in a description of a quarantined area.

(18) In some instances where it appears that the use of natural boundaries is more convenient and works less hardship on commerce and at the same time adequately marks the boundary of a quarantined area it seems advisable to use such boundaries.

(Principles #1 through #17 adopted July 25, 1931; Principle #18 added in 1936).


Appendix F

Explanatory Notes*

(Numbers refer to corresponding paragraphs in Statement of Principles)

(1) The purpose of this paragraph is to clarify thought in the minds of the public, to indicate the scope of plant quarantines, and to set forth briefly the what and why of a quarantine.

(2) The logical foundation for quarantine action is defined and attention is directed to the fact that private or group action cannot take the place of a regulation imposed by public authority.

(3) Four substantial prerequisites of quarantine action are set forth. It is believed that these four, as defined, are self-explanatory. Thus, if the pest concerned is not one which offers either actual or expected threat to substantial interests, it should not involve the machinery and restrictions of a quarantine. If some measure is available and presumably effective which is less costly or burdensome than a quarantine, that measure should be the one adopted. If the quarantine cannot be expected to accomplish anything its promulgation is questionable. If the economic gains from a quarantine are likely to be less than the cost of it, including the economic losses that it occasions, it cannot be defended.

(4) Promulgation of a quarantine which does not have behind it statutes or authority adequate to permit its enforcement is an invitation to annulment. Where such authority does not exist it should be sought.

(5) The purpose in this paragraph is to point out the danger inherent in a quarantine which, though presumably intended for control of a pest or similar purposes, is actually based on another objective, such as furtherance of trade.

(6) The principle is submitted that public notice of a proposed quarantine is desirable when possible, but on the other hand public notice should not be absolutely required, because occasion may arise when to delay until public notice can be given would mean defeat of a critically important objective.

(7) The principle here involved is one of adequate measures to accomplish the necessary end, but along with this the exercise of care not to impose unnecessary restrictions.

(8) and (9) An important distinction is set forth in these two paragraphs. It is submitted that a quarantine based on the hope of actual eradication of a threatening pest may properly involve more severe restrictions than those permissible in a quarantine which can hope only to retard spread. In the former case the objective to be gained is greater, the time through which the measure will prevail is presumably more limited, and the restrictions imposed may legitimately be more severe. In the latter case, the actual objective should be clearly understood and the measures adopted should be such as are allowable in view of the end sought.

(10) The cooperative relationships which are nearly always involved in a quarantine should be recognized and should be provided for in the measures proposed.

(11) The fact is here pointed out that a successful quarantine means complete adherence to its provisions on the part of all concerned. Since usually very large numbers of the public are involved, cooperation of the public should be sought.

(12) Quarantines have a tendency toward complexity. Sometimes this is inevitable. To meet this difficulty special effort should be made to phrase a quarantine order in the clearest and most logical language possible.

(13) The fact is recognized that any quarantine is likely to be criticized from time to time, and sometimes seriously so. Much criticism arises from an imperfect understanding of the objective of the quarantine and the necessity for its provisions. It is submitted, therefore, that constant and consistent effort should be made to keep the public advised as to the actual objectives of a given measure and the reasons why it imposes the restrictions that it involves.

(14) The purpose of this paragraph is to recognize, on the one hand, the fact that very often a quarantine must be set up before even reasonably complete knowledge of the pest concerned is available, and on the other hand, the fact that the study of the pest, and of many other phases of the matter, should go on, in order that wise improvements may be possible. These improvements may consist of additional necessary restrictions not appreciated at the start, or they may include relaxation of certain restrictions not found necessary.

(15) and (16) Just as there should be readiness to take prompt action in imposing restrictions, so also there should be readiness to take equally prompt action in relaxing them or repealing them, when the progress of events indicates such changes to be proper and safe.

(17) This is essentially a matter of helpful practice, based on the fact that various parties, including quarantine officers of other jurisdictions, should know promptly of any changes in the quarantine structure.

(18) In some instances where it appears that the use of natural boundaries are more convenient, and work less hardships on commerce, and at the same time adequately mark the boundary of a quarantined area, it seem advisable to use such boundaries.

*These explanatory notes have been incorporated in the Principles of Plant Quarantine document.

Adopted by the National Plant Board in 1931.

Slightly revised 1936.