Fruit fly outbreak contained

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The fruit fly outbreak in Tasmania is currently contained but there is still work to be done.

The detection of fruit fly for the first time in Tasmania could have severe consequences for the state’s economy, but Biosecurity Tasmania says the quick response to the outbreak has halted the spread.

Control areas have been put in place around sites where fruit fly have been detected, including at Spreyton, George Town and Flinders Island. 

The last detection was in early April.

Ben Goodsir, Director of the Fruit Fly Response Team, said Agfest was the perfect venue to spread public awareness about the situation.

“We have been explaining the situation and what we are doing to eradicate fruit fly from Tasmania,” he said.

“We want to make sure people are aware of what they look like and what the damage could be to Tasmania.”

The export industry of the premium fruit and vegetables that the fly infests is worth more than $50 million to the Tasmanian economy each year.

Mr Goodsir said there is ongoing work to be done and that control areas would stay in place for many months.

“We are comfortable and confident we have managed the risk to date but there is always the possibility of a re-emergence in spring and we have to be prepared to respond.”

According to Mr Goodsir, most people are fully aware of the response but to build a greater understanding examples of fruit fly are on display at Agfest.

“We all have a role to play and the only way we can achieve that goal is to ensure the community and industry are all working with us to get the job done.”

“It is all about minimising the biosecurity threat to Tasmania and the agriculture industry.”

Nick Steel, the Policy Manager for the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association (TFGA), said that it is clear the public is supporting the industry.

“This is shown through the public response to fruit fly reporting,” he said.

“Hopefully it is contained and we can demonstrate that we are once again fruit fly free.”

Mr Steel said that agriculture is a key pillar in Tasmania and it is important to protect the industry.

“Tasmania is unique. We don’t have a lot of the pests and diseases that mainland Australia does, lets keep it that way.”

If you think you have produce infested with fruit fly, please call Biosecurity Tasmania on 6165 3774.