MPI ex­pects more fruit flies to be found

Central Leader - - NEWS -

A fourth Queens­land fruit fly has been found in the Auck­land sub­urb of Grey Lynn.

The of­fice of the Min­is­ter for Pri­mary In­dus­tries Nathan Guy con­firmed that a fourth fly had been found and more would be found dur­ing the next few days.

The dis­cov­ery of a fourth fly fol­lows the dis­cov­ery of two fur­ther flies in the Grey Lynn red zone on Satur­day.

One of those was a male that was found dead in a trap.

The other was a re­cently hatched, un­mated fe­male adult – and there were 39 lar­vae with it.

The Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries (MPI) has been op­er­at­ing a con­trolled area over sev­eral Auck­land sub­urbs since a male fruit fly was found on Fe­bru­ary 18.

The MPI said ex­ist­ing con­trols on fruit and veg­etable move­ments re­mained largely the same.

The only change was to the scale of the higher-risk ‘‘Zone A’’ which had been slightly ex­tended.

The in­struc­tions for res­i­dents in­side the con­trolled area also re­mained the same.

Whole fresh fruit and veg­eta­bles, ex­cept for leafy veg­eta­bles and root veg­eta­bles, could not be moved out­side of the de­fined area. This was to make sure fruit flies were not spread out­side of the zone.

An ad­di­tional ex­port re­stric­tion zone now extends for 3.5km from where the lat­est fly was found.

Pro­duce sus­cep­ti­ble to fruit fly grown within that zone could not be ex­ported.

Guy says the the fourth fly, a male, was found on Sun­day.

The fly was found ‘‘a cou­ple of 100 me­tres’’ from where flies had ear­lier been found, he told Ra­dio New Zealand.

He says he was con­fi­dent the min­istry was deal­ing with a ‘‘small lo­calised pop­u­la­tion’’ of the pests.

New Zealand mar­kets for hor­ti­cul­tural pro­duce had been told of the sit­u­a­tion.

MPI chief op­er­a­tions of­fi­cer An­drew Cole­man says that since last Tues­day, the min­istry had in­tro­duced more strin­gent risk as­sess­ments at New Zealand’s bor­ders.

Those

in­cluded more

in­ter- na­tional air pas­sen­gers’ lug­gage go­ing through X-ray and all pas­sen­gers and lug­gage be­ing screened by an MPI de­tec­tor dog at in­ter­na­tional air­ports.

This could mean some mi­nor in­con­ve­nience for in­bound pas­sen­gers but was nec­es­sary given the risk to New Zealand.

If it be­came es­tab­lished here, the Queens­land fruit fly could have se­ri­ous con­se­quences for New Zealand’s hor­ti­cul­tural in­dus­try.

It could dam­age a wide range of fruit and veg­eta­bles, and lead to re­stric­tions on trade in some hor­ti­cul­tural ex­ports.

It could also have im­pacts on home gar­dens.

Photo: PETER MEECHAM

Lock­down: More dis­cov­er­ies of fruit flies have been made since the week­end.

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