Important biosecurity information about fruit fly
Biosecurity Tasmania has advised that as of 1 October Control Area restrictions will be changed to enable growers to sell their produce within the Control Areas.
What this means for the public:
- Do NOT move host produce from inside the Control Area to outside of the Control Area
- From 1 October you can:
- Move home-grown host produce from your property (including give away or sell), as long as it does not leave the Control Area
- Dispose of host produce as normal – double-bagging is no longer required.
- Compost host produce in the Control Area
- If you live in an Infected Area further restrictions apply. Refer to the maps below to find out if you live in an Infected Area.
What this means for industry:
- From 1 October, growers can move and sell untreated fruit within the 15km Control Areas
- Existing control measures will stay in place for properties within the 1.5km Infected Areas
- Movement of fruit from inside to outside the Control Areas is still not allowed, unless fruit is appropriately dealt with under required protocols.
The following document has been sent to industry to provide further information about the Control Area changes and industry assistance options.
Industry Update - Changes to Control Area Restrictions and Assistance Programs (395Kb)
Update September 2018
Biosecurity Tasmania has advised that changes can be made to Control Area restrictions to enable growers to sell their fruit within the Control Areas.
The Commonwealth have agreed that these changes are appropriate at this stage of the response.
From 1 October, untreated fruit will be allowed to be moved and sold within the 15km Control Areas
, but existing control measures must stay in place for those properties within the tighter 1.5km Infected Areas
where fruit fly was found last summer.
The decision reflects the work undertaken to date, plus ongoing negotiations with growers, industry, state and federal governments to tackle the fruit fly incursion and prepare for the upcoming season.
Movement of fruit from inside to outside the Control Areas is still not allowed, unless fruit is appropriately dealt with under required protocols.
Currently the target date for reinstatement of the Pest Free Area status, based on the National Fruit Fly Management Protocols, is 9 January 2019.
A number of factors will come into play to determine the final reinstatement. This includes finding no further fruit flies and acceptance by our trading partners that Queensland fruit fly no longer is present in Tasmania.
The State Government has also announced targeted support for growers impacted by the fruit fly detection.
- A Transitional Assistance Program (TAP) for growers within Infected Areas and Control Areas including treatment costs and hire of treatment equipment, labour costs, transport costs and packing or repackaging costs.
- Reasonable biosecurity and farm hygiene costs will also be covered for commercial growers within the Control Areas to reduce the biosecurity risk from any unpicked fruit. The State Government will continue to pay for the disposal of fruit.
- A new $4 million Fruit Fly Concessional Loan Scheme facility will be offered to provide support to affected businesses for operating costs necessary to restart or redevelop their operations, as well as provide short-term working capital for the immediate season; and
- As an additional safety net, eligible growers in difficulty can access a ‘break-even’ payment under certain circumstances to assist them to continue to trade and maintain their place in the market.
Work is continuing with industry to ensure biosecurity systems remain well-placed to respond to any potential future pest incursions. Both industry and the general public are thanked for their support and vigilance.
Update August 2018
Grower ForumBiosecurity Tasmania is currently arranging a grower/industry forum for Friday September 14.
Biosecurity Tasmania and AgriGrowth Tasmania staff will be present to answer questions directly in relation to negotiations on market access re-instatement, latest information on lifting of Control Areas, grower assistance package, and requirements in relation to product movement at commencement of the harvesting season.
The venue will be DPIPWE’s Stony Rise facility commencing at 11am.
Further information will be provided as soon as possible.
Market Access re-instatementCurrently the target date for reinstatement of the Pest Free Area status, based on the National Fruit Fly Management Protocols, is 9 January 2019.
A number of factors will come in to play to determine the final reinstatement. This includes finding no further fruit flies and acceptance by our trading partners that Queensland fruit fly no longer is present in Tasmania.
Grower support Support will be provided to affected fruit growers to prepare their businesses for the coming season until reinstatement is achieved.
The Government has announced it will provide transitional assistance to affected growers in the Control Areas until reinstatement. This includes the areas of packaging, fumigation treatment and associated transport and labour costs.
Full details on the support package and how to apply are currently being finalised and will be provided to growers and industry as soon as possible.
Partnership with Fruit Growers TasmaniaBiosecurity Tasmania will be working with Fruit Growers Tasmania to implement a Horticulture Biosecurity Communication and Education Program. This will support fruit growers with pest and disease awareness and broader community communication and education programs.
During spring and summer, the Department will also implement an updated Queensland fruit fly communication strategy with renewed signage, social media presence, complementary school education strategies and other initiatives.
Current statusThere have been no detections of fruit fly over the winter period.
Control Area restrictions remain in place to maintain Tasmania’s Pest Free Area status.
Biosecurity Tasmania is maintaining and enforcing pre-border treatment requirements and continuing border protection activities to prevent future incursions.
Biosecurity Tasmania has been compiling evidence of eradication, control and monitoring activities in accordance with the National Fruit Fly Management Protocols. This supports the work being undertaken with the Australian Government in their negotiations for market access reinstatement with our trading partners. (The National Fruit Fly Management Protocols are the tool the Australian Government uses to determine the date of reinstatement.)
Implementation of other initiativesBiosecurity Tasmania will also be leading the implementation of a number of other initiatives announced by the State Government.
- Preparing for introduction to Parliament the new Biosecurity Bill to modernise and streamline Tasmania’s biosecurity regulation.
- Examining Pest Free Places of Production as a potential way of certifying properties for export and market access.
- Examining alternative treatment options like irradiation for imported or exported fruit and facilitating the national review into interstate fumigation protocols.
- Reviewing Tasmania’s Biosecurity Import Requirements for fruit fly host produce and other operational standards
- Maintaining capacity to utilise fruit fly Sterile Insect Technology if required.
Message to the general public - what you can do to help:
- Do not move home-grown fruit (that is, host produce) from your property if you are located within a Control Area.
- Inside Control Areas ensure all rotten, fallen or remains of host produce are double-bagged prior to placing in general waste.
- Obey airport and road signs and use fruit disposal bins provided on key roads when leaving the Control Area.
Report all suspect produce to Biosecurity Tasmania on 6165 3774.
Please note: If you are outside a Control Area you do not need to double-bag host produce and it is also safe to compost host produce.
Declarations of Infected Area and Control Area restrictions.
Information about fruit fly detection traps
Information for roadside stallholders
Information for home growers
Information for schools, students and parents
Information for event organisers
Flinders Island Information
Report any suspected signs of fruit fly by calling (03) 6165 3774
About fruit flies
Fruit flies cause enormous damage to fruit and some vegetable crops around the world. They are unlikely to cause the same damage in Tasmania, but their presence at low levels may impede export trade. It is important for our horticultural industries that we keep fruit fly out of the state.
There are around 14 species of fruit fly of potential economic concern on the Australian mainland. The two that pose the most risk to Tasmania are:
- the Queensland fruit fly along the eastern seaboard and in the Northern Territory
- the Mediterranean fruit fly in Western Australia.
Queensland fruit fly - Click for a larger image
A mature fruit fly is around 7 mm long and is reddish brown with some yellow markings (see image above).
You are more likely to see fruit fly maggots (larvae) than actual flies. Fruit fly larvae look like blowfly maggots.
Fruit fly larva - Click for a larger image
Mature fruit fly larvae are 8-11 mm in length and 1.2-1.5 mm in width. They are usually easy to see in the flesh of the fruit.
A key sign of fruit fly is a series of "stings" visible on the outside of the fruit. A "sting" is a puncture mark caused when a female adult lays eggs into the fruit.
Fruit fly larva in fruit flesh - Click for a larger image
If you open up the "sting" carefully with a sharp knife, you should see a cavity containing eggs or the debris of hatched eggs - you would probably need a magnifying glass to see it.
The number of maggots (larvae) in a single piece of fruit varies from as little as 1 to more than 60, however typically we would expect to find 4-20 maggots in each piece of infected fruit.
Sting marks and larvae of Queensland fruit fly
copyright: Used by kind permission of Agriculture Victoria
Female fruit flies lay eggs in maturing and ripe fruit on the tree. The skin of the fruit needs to be soft enough for the fly to pierce the skin with her ovipositor. Lesions in damaged fruit can also facilitate egg-laying.
The larvae (maggots) tunnel into the fruit causing rotting, and so infected fruit often falls to the ground prematurely.
Maggots continue to develop in fallen fruit, so infected fruit must not be disposed of in compost heaps.
Susceptible fruit and vegetables
Stone fruit such as apricots, peaches and cherries, and pome fruits including apples and pears, are especially susceptible.
Citrus, fig, and many tropical fruits are also susceptible as are fruiting vegetables such as tomato, eggplant and capsicum. Some native and ornamental fruits are susceptible as well. See below on this page for a more comprehensive list of host plants.
The value of keeping Tasmania fruit fly free
Tasmania has a reputation, both nationally and internationally, as a reliable producer of the best fruit and vegetable products. Our freedom from a wide range of serious pests and diseases gives our producers a significant competitive advantage in the key markets. Indeed our access to the premium markets in Japan, Korea, USA, Taiwan and China is dependent on our fruit fly free status.
For many years, the belief has been that fruit fly would not survive a Tasmanian winter. However, even a temporary summer population of the pest could disrupt fruit exports. Any degree of trade disruption is undesirable for our growers.
The cost of fruit fly to producers where it exists on the mainland is substantial. That cost includes:
- loss of product due to infestation
- restricted market access for any "clean" product from within a biosecurity area (typically 15 km radius of an infested property)
- costs of an eradication program (typically baiting)
- costs of ongoing insecticide use
loss of any market premium that goes with not having to fumigate export fruit.
It is estimated our fruit fly free status adds tens of millions of dollars a year to the export income earned by Tasmania's horticultural industries.
Ways fruit fly could enter Tasmania
By far the most likely way is as maggots or eggs in fruit and susceptible vegetables. That is why Biosecurity Tasmania is so rigorous in policing the ban on tourists, interstate home gardeners and returning Tasmanians from bringing fruit and vegetables into the state.
It is possible, but unlikely, that mature fruit flies could be brought across Bass Strait on the ferry or by plane.
The distance across Bass Strait is such that mature fruit flies being blown over from the mainland is considered highly unlikely.
Biosecurity Tasmania's fruit fly surveillance program comprises a network of around 900 fruit fly traps at various risk points, from Dover in the State’s south to Smithton in the north. These pest surveys are ongoing to prove that Tasmania is fruit fly free, and give Biosecurity Tasmania an early warning of a fruit fly incursion.
There are also legal
restrictions on people bringing fruit and vegetables into Tasmania. In short, people are not allowed to bring fruit or vegetables with them when they come to, or return to, Tasmania. Biosecurity Tasmania ensures everyone coming into Tasmania is fully aware that they may not bring fruit or vegetables with them - and prosecutes those who fail to comply.
Commercial shipments of some types of fruit and vegetables are allowed only if they comply with Biosecurity Tasmania's strict biosecurity requirements (see Plant Biosecurity Manual
for import requirements). All fruit and vegetables require special certification from the State of Origin. Most imported fruit is certified by fumigation.
The law applies not only to orchardists but also to anyone with a home garden, crops that are hosts to fruit fly such as tomatoes etc, or a small acreage that is not farmed commercially.
Where there are fruit fly affected areas on the mainland, fruit fly populations are generally a lot higher in urban home gardens and small blocks than in outlying orchards. In a fruit fly outbreak, lone fruit trees or vines in an urban backyard and neglected fruit trees or vines on non-commercial smallholdings are a major biosecurity risk. This is especially so if the owner fails to collect and destroy fallen fruit.
The fruits grown commonly in Tasmania that could be attacked by fruit fly include:
However, a wide range of other fruits, not commonly grown here or that are only imported from warmer climates are also capable of harbouring fruit fly. For a complete list of host plants, see below. Images of fruit fly host produce
(papaw), Casimiroa edulis
(passionfruit), Passiflora suberosa
(peach), Psidium cattleianum
(guava), Syzygium aqueum
(sweet lemon tree),
(Australian desert lime),
(Horn of plenty),
Malpighia emarginata, Mimusops elengi
(plantain), Myrciaria cauliflora
(rambutan), Nerium oleander
(red fruit passion flower),
Pouteria caimito, Pouteria campechiana
(plum), Prunus salicina
Rollinia mucosa, Rollinia pulchrinervis, Rubus fruticosus
Reporting suspected fruit flies
Public assistance is a vital part of our ongoing surveillance for any signs of fruit fly. You are most likely to see larvae in a piece of fruit, either fruit you have bought or fruit in your backyard. They look similar to blowfly maggots.
If you do see what you think may be signs of fruit fly, contact Biosecurity Tasmania on 6165 3774.
If you are not sure, please report anyway. There are no costs involved in reporting and you would be performing an important public duty in alerting us to anything that might be fruit fly.
Whatever you do, do NOT dispose of any fruit that has a maggot you think might be fruit fly. In most cases, you would be asked to place it in a plastic bag or plastic container and put it in your fridge until a Biosecurity Tasmania officer collects it.
Fruit fly is declared as a List A pest under the
Plant Quarantine Act 1997. People are required by law to report promptly any signs of fruit fly on their property.