Pests and pathways – monitoring biosecurity risks to New Zealand’s fresh vegetable and arable industries
The Monitoring Biosecurity Risks Report produced by Market Access Solutionz Ltd for the New Zealand vegetable and arable industries has been released.
A key component of the managing risks project is the ongoing scan for emerging pests internationally.
This report is a continuation of a project that has been running for the last seven years and is funded jointly by the Vegetable Research & Innovation Board, Potatoes NZ Inc and the Foundation for Arable Research.
The aim of the project is to proactively identify pests and pathways that may present a risk to New Zealand’s fresh vegetable and arable industries.
The report itself contains:
• An annual analysis of Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) pest interception and identification records on fresh produce, cut flowers, and foliage import pathways;
• Assessment of pest interceptions against Import Health Standards to identify potential risk pathways;
• Reporting of emerging international pests which could potentially present risks to New Zealand’s vegetable or arable industries.
The information gathered in the Monitoring Biosecurity Risks project on changing pest distributions and border interceptions supports the vegetable and arable industries to provide to feedback to MPI when they are asked to comment on proposed changes to import health standards. For example, MPI has recently released the proposed import health standard for fresh pumpkin, squash and butternut. Vegetables New Zealand Inc has reviewed this proposed import health standard and the MPI risk assessment against the latest information in the Managing Risks report to ensure that pests identified through this reporting have been considered by MPI in their review of the import health standard and risk assessment of imported cucurbita.
A key component of the managing risks project is the ongoing scan for emerging pests internationally. This scan involves monitoring a range of international sources, including: pest alerts, notifications from regional plant protection organisations, scientific publications, industry journals, and the MPI emerging risks system.
The emerging pest scan considers those organisms that are, or may become, risks to the vegetable and / or arable industries. These are pests and diseases that are showing with
changes in their distribution (caused by trade or movement of plants, people or machinery), or those that have had a significant impact in a new environment compared to their countries of origin or their native range. As well, this scanning identifies pests and diseases that have come to the attention of regulatory agencies or industry sectors. One example of an emerging pest identified through this scan is the oriental tomato thrips (Ceratothripoides claratris). Oriental tomato thrips is an important tomato pest for Thailand and in 2017 was added to the EPPO (European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organisation) quarantine pest list based on its absence from the European region. Its main host is tomato, but it has also been observed on other solanaceous crops including capsicum and eggplants. Oriental tomato thrips is of Asian origin, but has spread to Africa in recent years. It directly damages fruit, leaves, and stems by feeding and disfigures fruit because of the way it lays its eggs. It is also considered a vector of capsicum chlorosis virus and tomato necrotic ringspot virus. Oriental tomato thrips is not currently listed in MPI’s Biosecurity Organisms Register for Imported Commodities (BORIC) – the register lists all unwanted organisms (http://mpi.govt.nz/newsand-resources/resources/registersand-lists/biosecurity-organismsregister-for-imported-commodities/). If introduced into New Zealand it is likely that oriental tomato thrips will be able to establish in tomato and capsicum glasshouses.
The potato psyllid / jumping plantlouse (Russelliana solanicola Tuthill) was identified as an emerging pest because of its recent spread in South America. It is native to the Andes and has spread to eastern Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. Russelliana will feed on many different plant types and can also disperse and transmit plant pathogens. These traits make this a potentially economically important pest of potato and other crop species. A recent study looking at climate suitability considered New Zealand as a suitable habitat for the establishment of Russelliana if introduced. Russelliana is still considered a localised psyllid pest of South America, but it will be important to continue to monitor the changing distribution of this pest through the monitoring biosecurity risks project.
Where the monitoring biosecurity risks project has identified generic potential risk pathways or pests of concern, these are raised as part of the project itself, while industry specific issues are communicated back to the individual sectors to raise with MPI directly.
Following from the publication of the 2018 Managing Risks report, the project will work closely with the vegetable and arable sector groups to address the key pest risks identified.
ORIENTAL TOMATO THRIPS (Source: PADIL, Laurence Mound ANIC, CSIRO) POTATO PSYLLID ADULT POTATO PSYLLID NYMPH