Fruit fly outbreak declared in South Australia's Riverland
Author: ABC News

A town in South Australia's Riverland region, internationally recognised as being pest-free, has had a fruit fly outbreak.

Seven male Queensland fruit flies have been found in the Loxton area. Any more than five male flies is considered an outbreak.

A 1.5-kilometre outbreak area and 15-kilometre suspension area have been established around the detection point and quarantine restrictions apply in the Newton Road area.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said a team of 50 Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA) staff had immediately commenced an eradication program aimed at eliminating fruit flies from the outbreak area and nearby surrounds.

"The State Government, industry and community members have run simulated outbreak exercises this year, which has assisted in preparing local people for the roles they need to play in swiftly eradicating this pest from the region," Mr Whetstone said.

"Sadly this outbreak just shows you how vulnerable we are, particularly with New South Wales and Victoria not having fruit fly strategies in place.

"Internally in the Riverland we're doing everything we can and emphasising when people travel to the Riverland please leave your fruit and vegetables at home."

Riverland Fruit Fly Committee member Jason Size said the outbreak was a devastating blow for the community and the industry was always lobbying for more to be done.

"It always comes down to resources and ability to do things," he said.

"As an industry representative we're always advocating for more.

Mr Size called for compassion for the growers affected, as the loss of market access could have big implications for the internationally recognised pest-free area.

Federal Member for Mayo, Rebekha Sharkie, has lobbied the Federal Government to invest more money into South Australia's fruit fly protection and recognise pest control management as a national issue.

"In the budget this year we saw Tasmania received $10 million after they had a fruit fly outbreak, so it's not just a state responsibility. Clearly the feds have stepped in with this," Ms Sharkie said.

The quarantine period is expected to end on February 28, 2019 unless another outbreak occurs, but Mr Whetstone has urged growers in the affected area to contact PIRSA regarding additional fruit treatments and fruit movement.

"We are liaising closely with the horticulture industry in the Riverland, particularly in regards to the movement of produce and quarantine restrictions," he said.

Published: Friday 7th December 2018
Author: ABC News
More Info: ABC News

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Last Update: 19-12-2018 18:38