Current Biosecurity Threats
The Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment has completed its initial surveillance program on and around the site of a blueberry rust detection on a commercial growing property in the State’s north.
In the week up to 18 August 2016, 14,000 plants capable of hosting the disease were inspected across five properties in a 25km radius of the detection since the disease was confirmed.
The surveys have not found any evidence of disease on properties outside the detection site.However, they have confirmed the disease is present on the detection site in four of 11 blocks on the property.
It is too early to identify if eradication of the disease is feasible and further work is being undertaken to inform possible options.
DPIPWE will continue to identify ways to address the incursion as well as assist growers in to the coming season.
The Department will liaise with interstate authorities to identify requirements that could allow property or regional freedom to be provided to growers with no evidence of disease enabling them to trade in interstate markets.
Biosecurity Tasmania is working with the grower to attempt to identify the source of the disease.
Anyone with blueberry plants is encouraged to remain vigilant for evidence of the disease and report any unusual signs on blueberry plants to Biosecurity Tasmania.
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)
Any unexplained and significant mortality of oysters (greater than 5 per cent) should be reported to:
Phone Office Hours: 03 6165 3263
Phone After Hours: 1800 675 888
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.
The bright yellow pustules indicate the presence of myrtle rust. Photo: DPIPWE - Biosecurity Tasmania
fungus is regarded as a serious threat and consequently Biosecurity
Tasmania has led a response with the aim of eradicating the disease from
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.
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
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.
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
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, Bugwood.org (via Department of Primary Industries Victoria).
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.