13 Dec 2010

NZ alert to fruit fly outbreak in Australia

5:47 am on 13 December 2010

Horticulture New Zealand is keeping a close watch on outbreaks of Queensland fruit fly in some fruit production areas in Australia that are supposed to be free of the pest.

Over the past two weeks, the Australian Quarantine & Inspection Service has detected fruit fly in two areas previously declared clear of the pest.

Horticulture New Zealand says New Zealand imports a considerable amount of fruit from some of these fruit fly-free areas, including grapes and citrus.

Chief executive Peter Silcock says that if the fruit fly was detected here, it would immediately close many of New Zealand's fruit and vegetable export markets and devastate the industry.

Mr Silcock says it's a warning sign for Biosecurity New Zealand, because it's essential to be very conscious of biosecurity issues after the outbreak of the PSA vine disease in 110 kiwifruit orchards.

He says the Australian experience shows how difficult Queensland fruit fly is to manage in any sustainable way.

Mr Silcock says it underscores that once something is here, it's quite difficult to manage and eradicate.

He says travellers especially, need to remember to not to bring any fruit and vegetables into the country.