New fly find rings louder alarm bells

Tasmanian Country - - NEWS -

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.

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