Stink bug risk spurs ac­tion

Shepparton News - Country News - - NEWS -

Aus­tralia has im­ple­mented stronger off­shore biose­cu­rity mea­sures for the com­ing brown mar­morated stink bug season to man­age risks as­so­ci­ated with this sig­nif­i­cant cargo pest.

De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Wa­ter Re­sources’ biose­cu­rity head Lyn O’Con­nell said the bugs were a threat to agri­cul­tural in­dus­tries and the en­vi­ron­ment, feed­ing on more than 300 dif­fer­ent plant species.

‘‘Be­tween Septem­ber and April there is a height­ened risk that BMSB could ar­rive in Aus­tralia on im­ported cargo, so en­hanced mea­sures are put in place dur­ing this pe­riod to man­age the risk and keep this pest out,’’ Ms O’Con­nell said.

‘‘This season we have new mea­sures that will ap­ply to a broader range of ex­port­ing coun­tries and high-risk goods, which we have iden­ti­fied as the most likely path­way for BMSB.

‘‘This pest has con­tin­ued to spread across Europe and ex­pand­ing the list of coun­tries that the new mea­sures ap­ply to will al­low us to man­age that in­creased risk.

‘‘There will also be height­ened sur­veil­lance for cargo ves­sels and ad­di­tional pre-ar­rival re­port­ing for ves­sel op­er­a­tors, who will be re­quired to un­der­take daily checks of their ves­sels and cargo for biose­cu­rity risks.

‘‘Cer­tain high-risk goods may also re­quire manda­tory off­shore treat­ment, but this must be un­der­taken by an ap­proved off­shore treat­ment provider that has reg­is­tered with the de­part­ment.’’

The stink bugs emerged as a biose­cu­rity threat for Aus­tralia in 2014. The bugs are a threat to a large range of plant species, in­clud­ing fruit, veg­eta­bles and or­na­men­tal plants.

If the brown mar­morated stink bug was to ar­rive in Aus­tralia, it could sig­nif­i­cantly im­pact on the na­tion’s plant health and po­ten­tially im­pact on trade. ■ For more in­for­ma­tion, visit: http://www.agri­cul­ture.gov.au/ im­port/be­fore/pests/brown­mar­morated-stink-bugs

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