New fly find rings louder alarm bells
THE State Opposition says the detection of one male fruit fly at Mowbray, in the state’s North, has escalated the importance of the fight against the pest.
Labor says the fruit-fly situation is an unfolding disaster.
Biosecurity Tasmania’s general manager Lloyd Klumpp said the detection was made from a public report at Mowbray.
Dr Klumpp said preliminary surveillance had not identified any current fruiting trees on the property.
He said biosecurity officers were checking surrounding properties as well.
Labor’s primary industries spokesman Shane Broad said the adult male fruit fly found in Mowbray “had to have flown from somewhere”.
“We have an unfolding disaster here,” Dr Broad said.
“It’s been through its life cycle, it’s time to take this issue seriously,” Dr Broad, an agricultural scientist, said.
“This fruit fly find is 40km away from George Town where another detection was made.
“There is so much at stake. It only takes infected fruit to be thrown into a compost bin and we have an outbreak.
“We have also seen how the fruit fly is now in the supermarket chain.”
Labor has called on the State Government to establish a taskforce of experts in its fight against the fruit fly invasion as fruit growers warn they will not accept anything less than total eradication.
Mr Klumpp said the detection of a single male fruit fly did not constitute an outbreak and does not require a control zone at Launceston.
“One adult male fruit fly does not indicate there is an active population in the area, however it is important that any detections are thoroughly investigated to try and identify the source of the fly,” Dr Klumpp said.
“Currently we are installing surveillance traps around the area as well as talking to the landholder and neighbouring property owners to try and determine the source of this detection.
“The community support and vigilance to the threat of fruit fly has been outstanding.”
Besides investigation into the Mowbray fly, work on the overall fruit fly response is ongoing, Dr Klumpp said.
No changes have been made to control areas in place on Flinders Island or the northern control area.
Meanwhile, Tasmania is inquiring about using sterile fruit flies could be used to help kill off the pest.
Two million captive-bred and sterile were released by plane over Adelaide. The flies were bred with the most attractive traits to wild mates to prevent fertile offspring.