Current Biosecurity Threats

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​In Tasmania​​

Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS)

Biosecurity Tasmania laboratories has confirmed the presence of Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS) in a number locations around Tasmania.


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

See also:

​POMS Update as at 18 March 2016 

A greater range of movements of oysters onto oyster farms is now allowed in Tasmania as the result of a detailed testing regime.

Since the end of January this year, Biosecurity Tasmania and the Tasmanian oyster industry have been responding to an outbreak of Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome, also known as POMS. 

This response has included restrictions on the movement of oysters onto oyster farms while a structured testing program has been underway to determine where the virus is present in the State. This testing program has been completed and it is now possible to assess oyster movements that can occur between farms without spreading the virus.

Based on the information from the POMS testing program three (3) areas of differing disease risk have been determined as a basis for issuing movement permits. These areas are:

  • POMS free area across the north of Tasmania;
  • intermediate risk areas where there is little or no evidence of disease, but a risk of introduction of the disease; and
  • an infected area where POMS is known to occur.​
 Find more information on this latest update and a complete listing of Tasmanian disease risk sites sites according to their identified risk status.​


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

Biosecurity Tasmania

Phone Office Hours: 03 6165 3085

Phone After Hours: 1800 675 888


​​>> See previous situation reports, and further information on POMS


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

Other threats:

Blueberry Rust


Blueberry Rust Update 19 February 2015

Blueberry rust (Thekopsora minima) was detected by Biosecurity Tasmania during a routine inspection of a consignment of blueberry plants imported into Tasmania from Victoria in September 2014. Blueberry rust is a fungal disease and a List A declared plant pest under the Plant Quarantine Act 1997. It has the potential for significant impacts on berry indu​stries in Tasmania.

Dark brown spots, a sign of blueberry rust. Click on the image to see a larger version​

Since the September 2014 detection Biosecurity Tasmania has worked very closely with industry and the Tasmanian community in a blueberry rust surveillance and eradication effort. In excess of 65 000 blueberry plants and 26 000 potential host plants were physically inspected throughout Tasmania under the surveillance sampling regime.
Eradication activities have now been completed at a total of 51 properties where blueberry rust was detected. ​The majority of these premises were residential properties. ​​Surveillance activities have confirmed that blueberry rust was not detected at any of Tasmania’s large scale commercial nursery, propagation or fruit production properties.
Tracing activities that were carried out confirmed that all plants identified in the incursion were sourced from the one Victorian nursery, with Victorian investigations confirming that blueberry rust was confined to that nursery.
Biosecurity Tasmania will continue to monitor the situation and will respond to any further reports of suspected blueberry rust infections. Work is now underway to finalise and thoroughly review the incursion response as well as to prepare all the necessary documentation that will support Tasmania’s claim to restore proof of area freedom from blueberry rust.
All Tasmanians who have blueberry plants are encouraged to continue checking for the signs of blueberry rust in their plants over the coming weeks.
To ensure ongoing protection from the rust, Biosecurity Tasmania encourages Blueberry growers to adopt and maintain a range of biosecurity measures on their properties, including:
  • Thoroughly check all existing plants for signs of blueberry rust;
  • Care should be taken when new blueberry plants are brought onto the property to ensure that plants are free from any disease that could infect existing crops; and
  • Consider if decontamination measures are needed to be in place for people, vehicles and equipment entering and leaving their property.

​If a blueberry plant looks sick or shows sign of rust, do not touch it or move any part of the plant. Contact Biosecurity Tasmania on 03 6165 3777. A Biosecurity Officer will speak with you and, if necessary attend the property to inspect the plant.

Blueberry import restrictions currently involve required treatment and quarantine procedures under Import Requirement (IR) 28 of the Tasmanian Plant Biosecurity Manual 2015. This includes pre/post entry quarantine requirements for plants.

Our blueberry rust fact sheet provides details on the symptoms to look for indicating blueberry rust.


More information on blueberry rust.

For further information download a copy of the fact sheet on blueberry rust

Blueberry rust FAQ - answers many of the questions relating to the steps taken if you have identified Blueberry 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.


See also: