Current Biosecurity Threats

​​Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS)

Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS) was detected in Tasmania in early 2016. As part of the outbreak response, Biosecurity Tasmania implemented a surveillance program to confirm areas free of POMS and to determine the extent of POMS in remaining oyster producing areas of the State. Monitoring of the disease is planned to continue during the 2016-17 summer.

To reduce the possibility of introducing POMS into areas known not to be infected, Biosecurity Tasmania has worked with the Oyster Industry to develop a movement permit system for oysters and oyster producing equipment into, out of and between growing areas. Movements are only permitted for transfers between areas of the same risk rating, or into areas that have a higher risk of POMS being present. Movements are not allowed from high risk areas into areas that have a low risk of POMS being present. These movement restrictions apply to anyone moving oysters or associated equipment for any reason other than for human consumption.



More information on the current situation with Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS)

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Any unexplained and significant mortality of oysters (greater than 5 per cent) should be reported to:

Biosecurity Tasmania

Phone Office Hours: 03 6165 3263

Phone After Hours: 1800 675 888


Myrtle rust


The bright yellow pustules indicate the presence of myrtle rust. Photo: DPIPWE - Biosecurity Tasmania

The plant disease pathogen myrtle rust (Puccinia psidii) was diagnosed from a sample taken from a private residential property near Burnie on Tasmania's north-west coast on 19 February 2015.

This fungus is regarded as a serious threat and consequently Biosecurity Tasmania has led a response with the aim of eradicating the disease from the state.​



Myrtle Rust Update as at 8 April 2016

Home gardeners and property owners are reminded to be on the lookout for signs of the fungal disease Myrtle Rust.

Continuing surveillance by DPIPWE has detected 51 cases since early February in private gardens in North and North-West Tasmania. All detections this season have been on Lophomyrtus plant varieties, those diseased plants have been removed and destroyed.  To date a little over 1400 properies have been inspected around Tasmania.

No evidence of the disease has been found in the wild at this stage, however the latest detections in home gardens highlight the need for continued community vigilance, particularly during warm weather and humid conditions which create an ideal environment for Myrtle Rust.

Tell-tales signs of the disease include bright yellow powdery patches on soft growing tips,  leaves and stems of Myrtaceae species such as Lophomyrtus cultivars “Black Stallion”, “Red Dragon” and willow myrtles, Chilean guava and native tea trees, paperbarks and bottle brushes.

Biosecurity Tasmania is working closely with nurseries to ensure signs of the disease are reported immediately. Measures are in place to stop the spread of Myrtle Rust between nurseries.

There are no human health risks associated with Myrtle Rust.

DPIPWE encourages anyone who thinks they may have Lophomyrtus plants in their garden to call the hotline number so an inspection can be arranged. If you see what you think might be Myrtle Rust, please take a photograph, record the location and details of the suspected plant and contact the Myrtle Rust Hotline (03) 6165 3785

​​>> See previous updates and further information on Myrtle Rust

​On the mainland

New outbreaks or spread of existing pests or diseases on the mainland can increase the threat of such pests or diseases getting into Tasmania.  In some cases, new or enhanced import regulations are necessary to help mitigate any such increased threat to Tasmania.

Giant pine scale

Giant pine scale (Marchealina hellenica) was found in Melbourne and Adelaide. This is the first record of this insect in Australa.

To date it has not been found in Tasmania.
The Giant pine scale insect lives by sucking the sap of pine, fir and spruce trees. 
The Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries website has detailed information about this insect:​
If you see anything that you think looks like this pest anywhere in Tasmania please report it to the Exotic Plant Disease Hotline1800 084 881

Giant pine scale Figure 1. Giant pine scale on the lower trunk and branches of a pine tree.
Copyright: Department of Primary Industries Victoria





Figure 2. Giant pine scale adult, showing its white wax secretion.
Copyright: Andrea Battisti, Universita di Padova, (via Department of Primary Industries Victoria)​.


Green Snail

As a response to the detection of Green snail (a List A pest) in Victoria in September 2011, Tasmania imposed restrictions on the importation of cut flowers, leafy vegetables, cuttings, nursery stock, hay and straw from areas near the Victorian properties affected.


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