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Assault on the Sepik

Salvinia molesta has been called the world''s worst water weed. Its careless release has created havoc as waterways in many tropical and sub-tropical countries have become clogged with its floating fronds. In the Sepik floodplain of Papua New Guinea, the weed has had a disastrous impact on the thousands of people whose lives depend on the waterways and lagoons of the area for food and transport.

In February 1982, CSIRO, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program, made the first release of a tiny weevil, Cyrtobagus, on Binatang Lagoon in the East Sepik. The result is one of the most spectacular examples of ''biological control'' in modern times. Hundreds of square kilometres of salvinia are being destroyed by the weevils as they spread through the area. Village life along the Sepik is returning to normal.

This film is a graphic account of the story as we follow Dr Peter Room, from CSIRO''s Division of Entomology, on his historic journeys to Papua New Guinea to release the beetle and then to follow up the results.

Produced in 1985.

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05:01:36 | Sepik River - aerial and ground level shots
05:02:08 | Construction of dug out canoe with axes
05:02:22 | River activities - fishing, swimming
05:02:38 | Extraction of starch from sago palm
05:02:54 | Village market, crabs, fish, tropical fruits
05:03:14 | crocodile farm
05:03:25 | Native art and artifacts
05:03:38 | Tourists and tourists boat
05:03:57 | Salvinia weed in river - impeding movement of canoe
05:05:28 | Aerial - salvinia clogged lagoons, isolated villages
05:05:50 | Phil Thomas travelling up river in boat, salvinia infested lagoons,clearing branches from channel, erecting boom to hold back weed.
05:07:08 | Quarantine glasshouse - researcher collecting insects from plantsample
05:07:56 | Researcher paddling small boat along weed infested creek
05:08:05 | Researcher collecting insects from weed samples
05:08:14 | Salvinia eating weevil - Cyrtobagus salviniae
05:08:26 | Weevils being tested on other plant species in quarantine
05:08:34 | Dr. Peter Room and assistant collecting weeds from lagoon
05:08:42 | Mt. Isa, Lake Moondarra clogged with weeds and after biologicalcontrol with weevils
05:09:07 | Research team travel in outboard through weed infested lagoons,jungle
05:09:33 | Dr. Peter Room showing PNG nationals photos of Lake Moondarra
05:10:29 | Aerials - infested lagoons and rivers, interior of aircraft andphotographer
05:11:00 | Landsat images of weed infestations
05:11:28 | Dr. PR and assistant in boat collect weed and weevil samples fromLake Julius, QLD
05:12:30 | PR extracting weevils from field samples and preparing them forexport - Longpocket lab
05:13:07 | Trip to PNG research lab - jet at Wewak airport, Togota 4WD drivealong dirt tracks
05:14:02 | Angoram research lab - weevils transferred to PNG salvinia
05:14:42 | Researchers take boat to lagoon and release weevils into enclosure
05:16:01 | Cyrtobagous weevils and larvae
05:16:32 | Phil Thomas taking photos and collecting samples of weed in lagoon
05:17:13 | Phil Thomas extracting weevils from weed samples
05:17:40 | PR conducting trials on salvinia on clogged waterway
05:18:06 | PT examines weeds for damage by weevils in lagoon
05:18:58 | PT & PR examine dead & dying weeds in lagoon
05:19:25 | Wewak radio broadcasting, group of villagers listening to radio
05:19:56 | PT instructing villagers in collecting weevil infested salviniaon lagoon
05:20:35 | Researcher distribution infested weed by boat
05:21:12 | Light plane loaded with infested weed
05:21:29 | Aerials - weed infested lagoons
05:21:40 | Light plane landing on isolated airstrip
05:21:57 | Weevil infested Salvinia being distributed from dugout canoe
05:22:57 | Researchers plan distribution strategy
05:23:15 | Airboat in weed clogged lagoon
05:24:07 | Researchers walk on weed choked lagoon
05:24:41 | Researchers consult with PNG lagoon
05:25:50 | Village life on bank of river
05:26:37 | Credits
05:27:03 | End