Further biosecurity restrictions on the movement of fruit and vegetables in the Auckland suburb of Northcote are being put in place, following the find of a third Queensland fruit fly in the area.
The male fly was found in a surveillance trap just outside the A Zone controlled area but within Zone B and was around 270 metres away from the last detection in Northcote.
“While it is disappointing that we’ve found another fly, the detection is showing the effectiveness of our surveillance programme.
“Importantly, we still have no evidence of an established breeding population.”
All 5243 fruit fly traps in the greater Auckland area have now been checked. That includes 629 traps combined in the three controlled areas, which are being checked every day or every third day depending on the controlled area they are in.
Managing fruit and vegetable waste has also been a priority. As of 28th February, Biosecurity New Zealand has also disposed of over five tonne of waste that communities in the controlled zones have put in the disposal bins.
The detection means the restrictions on movement of fruit and vegetables in Zone A in Northcote, the 200m radius area around the original detection, will be extended towards the south east to take account of the latest find. A detailed map of the controlled area and a full description of the new boundaries and movement controls can be found by clicking here.
“In addition to that, we are taking further measures to ensure we are doing everything we can sensibly do to find any other fruit flies in the area,” says Dr Duthie.
“Because of the new find in Northcote, we will take the precautionary approach of continuing the response in Devonport for another week rather than closing it at the weekend, which would be standard practice after no new finds in the suburb for a fortnight.’’
“We are very grateful for the support all communities affected by the fruit fly detections have given us. We are sure the people of Devonport will continue to support our work for another week.”
In addition, Biosecurity New Zealand will be establishing further enhanced fruit fly trapping between the Devonport and Northcote detections as a precautionary measure.
“However, there will be no restrictions on the movement of fruit in these areas. This in-fill trapping is purely precautionary.”
Biosecurity New Zealand is also working with industry partners to put in place appropriate controls on the movement of fruit destined for export through or near Northcote.
“This measure is designed to strengthen trading partner confidence in our response, and that we are managing any risk to them.”
The measures mean any fruit or vegetables that can host Queensland fruit fly, and which is destined for export, cannot come within a 3.2 kilometre radius of the Northcote detections, unless it is suitably pest-proofed – for example by shrink-wrapping pallets.
“This would affect, for example, any fruit moving south over the harbour bridge,” says Dr Duthie.
“However, we expect the volume of fruit impacted by this to be very small at this time of the year. In addition, exporters can avoid these restrictions entirely by trucking produce along the more western routes 18 and 16.”
Biosecurity New Zealand has also put in place additional measures at the border to increase vigilance for the remainder of the Queensland fruit fly high risk season, which is due to end at the end of April, and will be reviewed at that time. These include additional x-ray screening and baggage searches of arriving air passengers and further checks of cruise ships at regional ports after intensive inspections at the first port of arrival.
Meanwhile, Rob Delane, who is undertaking the independent assurance review of the air passenger, cruise and mail pathways has completed the first week of his review.
There are no further detections of the facialis fruit fly in Otara.
What to do
If you find larvae inside fruit, or believe you have seen a fruit fly, keep hold of it and call 0800 80 99 66.
If you live around Devonport, Ōtara, or Northcote: find out if you're in the Controlled Area. If so, you will need to follow legal restrictions around movement of fruit and vegetables. Remember – if in doubt, don't take it out.