Queensland fruit fly in Auckland – situation update 3

Source: Ministry for Primary Industries

Date:

Media contact: MPI media team

A large field crew continues work in the Auckland suburb of Devonport today, focused on finding out if there is an incursion of the Queensland fruit fly in the area.

This follows the detection of a lone male fly in a surveillance trap in the area last week. Since then, no further flies have been found.

If it established here, the Queensland fruit fly could seriously harm the country’s fruit and vegetable crops and affect exports of some produce. If a population is found, work will progress to eradicate it.

Current work involves:

  • extending the network of traps
  • inspecting home gardens in the area for plants that could provide suitable habitat for fruit flies
  • taking fruit and vegetable samples for testing
  • providing information to local residents and visitors.

A legal Controlled Area is in place in Devonport, restricting the movement of certain fruit and vegetables from the area.

Find out about the Controlled Area and movement controls

This is a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of any fruit flies out of the area in the event a population is there.

Response staff are also working with local retailers to explain the detail of the movement controls and how they may impact their businesses. Local retailers are eligible to apply for compensation for verifiable losses incurred as a result of the legal directions.

If people in Devonport believe they have seen fruit flies or have found insect eggs or larvae inside fruit or vegetables, they should contact the response team on 0800 80 99 66.

The fruit fly response at a glance

  • More than 60 people are working in Auckland and this number continues to grow. Around 20 Biosecurity New Zealand staff are working from National headquarters in Wellington.
  • Biosecurity New Zealand’s bio-secure mobile field laboratory is established at the Devonport Naval Base.
  • Staff there are inspecting produce collected from the area for signs of fruit fly and larvae.
  • Detailed information about the fruit and vegetable controls is being distributed in the area.
  • Signs are up on key arterial roads and at the Devonport Ferry Terminal.
  • Bins are going into the Controlled Area for local people to safely dispose of fruit and vegetable waste.
  • The website address for more information is www.biosecurity.govt.nz/fruitfly

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Biosecurity New Zealand – Situation Update 2

Source: Ministry for Primary Industries

Date:

Media contact: MPI Media team

Work continues at pace on the biosecurity response following the discovery last week of one male Queensland fruit fly in a surveillance trap in the Auckland suburb of Devonport. 

This is the fifth time a Queensland fruit fly has been detected in the upper North Island in the past decade and Biosecurity New Zealand’s staff are well practised in dealing with this situation.

A large field crew is at work in the area – with the key focus to urgently determine if any wider incursion of the Queensland fruit fly is in the present. Of the five previous Queensland fruit fly detections, only one wider incursion was found and the insect was successfully eradicated.

If it established here, the Queensland fruit fly could seriously harm the country’s fruit and vegetable crops and affect exports of some produce. If a population is found, work will progress to eradicate it.

To date, no further signs of fruit flies have been found.

Field teams are busy expanding the network of fruit fly traps in the area. If fruit flies are present, these traps will catch them. Traps are being placed in home gardens where fruit fly host plants (for example fruit trees) are found. These are currently installed in the priority part of the suburb which is within 200m of where the fruit fly was trapped (this is known as the A Zone). Further traps will be added to a wider area extending out to 1.5 km from where the fly was found.

In addition, staff are visiting homes in the A Zone, checking for fruit trees, vegetable gardens and compost facilities that could provide suitable habitat for fruit flies. Fruit and vegetable samples will be taken from home gardens to check for fruit fly contamination.

A legal Controlled Area is in place in Devonport, restricting the movement of certain fruit and vegetables from the area.

Full detail of the Controlled Area and movement 

This is a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of any fruit flies out of the area in the event a population is there.

Field workers are out in force talking to local residents and providing information about the controls and how they can support the response. Community members are encouraged to visit the Biosecurity New Zealand web page. Information is also being shared via social media.

If local people in Devonport believe they have seen fruit flies or have found insect eggs or larvae inside fruit or vegetables, they should contact the response team on: 0800 80 99 66. Photos of the insect are on the Biosecurity New Zealand website.

The fruit fly response at a glance:

  • More than 60 people are working in Auckland and this number continues to grow. Around 20 Biosecurity New Zealand staff are working from the National HQ in Wellington.
  • Biosecurity New Zealand’s bio-secure mobile field laboratory is established at the Devonport Naval Base.
  • Staff there are inspecting produce collected from the area for signs of fruit fly and larvae.
  • Personnel are out in force providing information to local residents and people visiting Devonport.
  • Signs are up on key arterial roads and at the Devonport Ferry Terminal.
  • Bins are going into the Controlled Area for local people to safely dispose of fruit and vegetable waste.

Ministerial visit and media briefing from Biosecurity New Zealand

This afternoon (Sunday 17 Feb) at 4pm the Minister for Biosecurity, Damien O’Connor, will visit Devonport field operations.

At the same time, Biosecurity New Zealand spokesperson Dr Catherine Duthie will provide a media update on progress in the response.

You are invited to attend this briefing and ask questions of the Minister and Dr Duthie.

The event is as follows:

Devonport Ferry Terminal, 1 Queens Parade, Devonport

  • Approximately 3:45pm – Minister O’Connor arrives in Devonport at 1 Queens Parade
  • 4.00pm – Minister O’Connor and Biosecurity New Zealand spokesperson Dr Catherine Duthie provide short briefing on response and take questions.
  • 4:20pm – End of event. After this Minister O’Connor will meet with field personnel. (Note this is a change from the earlier advised plan to visit the response Field HQ) 

More information: www.biosecurity.govt.nz/fruitfly

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Devonport Queensland Fruit Fly Situation – Update 1

Source: Ministry for Primary Industries

Date:

Media contact: MPI Media team

A large field operation is underway in the Auckland suburb of Devonport following the discovery of one male Queensland fruit fly in a surveillance trap in the area.

The task at hand is to determine if the fly is a solitary find, or if it is part of an incursion in the area.

If it established here, the Queensland fruit fly could seriously harm the country’s fruit and vegetable crops and affect exports of some produce. If a population is found, work will progress to eradicate it.

To date, no further signs of fruit flies have been found.

The immediate focus is setting further fruit fly traps in the affected area. If fruit flies are present, these traps will catch them. Ultimately there will be approximately 150 traps installed in the priority part of the suburb within 200m of where the fruit fly was trapped. Further traps will also be added in the 1.5 km radius from the find. These are in addition to the 7600 surveillance traps for fruit flies deployed nationally.

In addition, field teams are visiting local properties, checking for fruit trees, vegetable gardens and compost facilities that could provide suitable habitat for fruit flies.

Fruit and vegetable samples will be taken from home gardens to check for fruit fly contamination.

A legal Controlled Area has been declared over the suburb, restricting the movement of certain fruit and vegetables from the area.

Full details of the Controlled Area and movement controls 

This is a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of any fruit flies from the area, if there is a population there.

People in Devonport are asked to report any suspected sightings of the Queensland fruit fly or the discovery of insect eggs or larvae inside fruit or vegetables to: 0800 80 99 66. Photos of the insect are on the Biosecurity New Zealand website.

The fruit fly response at a glance:

  • More than 20 Biosecurity New Zealand staff working from Head Office in Wellington.
  • A field crew of 35 working in Devonport and this is expanding.
  • Biosecurity New Zealand’s bio-secure mobile field laboratory is being set up at the Devonport Naval Base.
  • Staff there will inspect produce collected from the area for signs of fruit fly and larvae.
  • Leaflets continue to be distributed in the affected area.
  • Signs to be put on key arterial roads and at the Devonport Ferry Terminal.
  • Personnel will be on hand at the terminal to provide information to travellers moving out of the Controlled Area.
  • Bins are being organised for the area so local people can safely dispose of locally-grown fruit and vegetable waste.

Further information, visit: www.biosecurity.govt.nz/fruitfly

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Auckland fruit fly investigation – controls on produce movements now in place

Source: Ministry for Primary Industries

Date:

Media contact: MPI media team

Biosecurity New Zealand has now placed legal controls on the movement of fruit and vegetables in the Auckland suburb of Devonport.

The move follows the detection of a single male Queensland fruit fly in a surveillance trap in the area.

A detailed map of the controlled area and a full description of the boundaries and rules concerned is at biosecurity.govt.nz/fruitfly

The Controlled Area has two zones – A and B. No whole fresh fruit and vegetables (except for leafy vegetable, root vegetables) can be moved outside of Zone A. This applies to all this produce regardless of where it was purchased or grown. The restrictions for Zone B only apply to fruit and vegetables grown within the Zone B area. These cannot be moved out of the Controlled Area.

“These legal controls are an important precaution while we investigate whether there are any further fruit flies present,” Biosecurity NZ spokesperson Dr Catherine Duthie says.

“Should there be any more flies out there, this will help prevent their spread out of the area.

“We are working closely with our Government Industry Agreement partners in the horticultural industry. They appreciate this will be inconvenient for the many people living in and around the Controlled Area, but compliance with these restrictions is a critical precaution to protect our horticultural industries, home gardens and our New Zealand way of life.

“It is likely the restrictions will be in place for at least a couple of weeks.”

Biosecurity New Zealand personnel are busy in the field today extending the trapping network and distributing information to households in the area. In addition, road signs will soon be visible warning people of the restrictions.

A programme of advertising starts in print, radio and digital media tomorrow.

Report suspected finds of the Queensland fruit fly to MPI’s Pest and Diseases Hotline 0800 80 99 66.

Details about the Controlled Area Notice:

No fruit and vegetables (other than leafy or root vegetables and cooked, processed, preserved, dried, frozen and canned fruit) can be moved from Zone A of the Controlled Area.

In addition, compost and green waste from gardens cannot be moved out of this Zone.

Residents in Zone A are asked to avoid composting fruits and vegetables. For disposing of fruit and vegetable waste, they are encouraged to use a sink waste disposal unit if possible or bins provided by Biosecurity New Zealand. These bins will be delivered shortly and residents advised of their location.

For Zone B – no fruit and vegetables grown in the Zone can be moved out of the Controlled Area. Produce that has been sourced commercially from outside the area can be moved.

Check out the Queensland fruit fly page for further information.

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New Zealand primary products continue to clear China border as usual

Source: Ministry for Primary Industries

Date:

Media contact: MPI media team

New Zealand’s primary products continue to clear the border in China as usual, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) said today.  This follows recent media reports suggesting delays.

“New Zealand products continue to be cleared into China,” says Tim Knox, MPI’s director market access.

“We have not received indication of anything out of the ordinary in China’s border clearance procedures for New Zealand products.”

New Zealand has an extensive trading relationship with China, valued at more than NZD$28 billion a year.  As with any large trading relationship, temporary technical trade issues can occur from time to time with products at the border. 

Each month China Customs publishes a list of food import non-compliances that have led to product rejection at the Chinese border. No New Zealand product appeared on the latest December 2018 list. Non-compliances concerning New Zealand products in 2018 were the lowest since monitoring began.

 “There are established mechanisms for resolving temporary technical trade issues, which includes working constructively with Chinese authorities and exporters,” says Mr Knox.

“The overall picture is one of a significant trade relationship working effectively, in both directions.”

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Auckland fruit fly find under investigation

Source: Ministry for Primary Industries

Date:

Media contact: MPI Media team

Biosecurity New Zealand is investigating a find of a single male Queensland fruit fly in a surveillance trap in the Auckland suburb of Devonport.

The fly was collected from a fruit fly trap and formally identified on the afternoon of 14 February.

Biosecurity New Zealand spokesperson Dr Catherine Duthie says the find does not mean New Zealand has an outbreak of fruit fly.

The Queensland fruit fly has been detected 6 times before in northern New Zealand – in Whangarei and in Auckland. Of these detections, only one, in Auckland in 2015, turned out to be a part of a wider breeding population and this was successfully eradicated by Biosecurity New Zealand.

Dr Duthie says the team has responded swiftly and field crews are starting work today setting additional fruit fly lure traps to determine if other flies are present in the area.

“It is vital to find out if this insect is a solitary find or if there is a wider population in Auckland that will need to be destroyed.

“If it established here, the Queensland fruit fly could have serious consequences for New Zealand’s horticultural industry. It can damage a wide range of fruit and vegetables and could lead to restrictions on trade in some of our horticultural exports.”

Biosecurity New Zealand is working closely with international trading partners and GIA [Government Industry Agreement] partners in the horticultural industry to minimise the risk to New Zealand growers and exporters.

As a precautionary measure, restrictions will be soon be put in place on the movement of fruit and vegetables out of the area. Instructions to the public about these controls and the exact area affected will be issued shortly.

A brochure with information about the fruit fly and controls will go to homes in the area later today.

“We will be working closely with the local community as we have found from past experience that public support is vital to success.

“In the meantime we ask people who live in Devonport not to move any fruit or vegetables from their homes,” Dr Duthie says.

“You may notice increased activity in the neighbourhood as we go about inspections and trapping. Our inspectors will seek permission to investigate fruit trees on your property if required.”

The most likely way that fruit flies can arrive in New Zealand is in fresh fruit and vegetables. Biosecurity New Zealand has strict requirements on the importation of fruit and vegetables to minimise this risk. Air and sea passengers are prohibited from bringing fresh fruit and vegetables into the country. Biosecurity New Zealand has to date been highly successful in keeping this insect threat out of New Zealand crops.

“This latest find demonstrates the benefit and effectiveness of MPI’s lure-based surveillance trapping network and the biosecurity system.  The network involves some 7,500 traps set nationwide and checked regularly,” Dr Duthie says. 

By setting traps for these pest insects, we are able to find them early, have assurance about exactly where the problem is located and respond faster and more effectively where finds are made.

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Draft import health standard for importing semen and embryos from equids

Source: Ministry for Primary Industries

Closing Date:

Contact: Animal Imports

Have your say

From 14 February 2019 to 15 April 2019 the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) invites comment on proposed changes to the import health standard (IHS) for importing semen and embryos from equids (horses and donkeys). Full details of the proposed changes are in the consultation documents.

Consultation documents

Making your submission

Email your feedback on the draft by 5pm on 15 April 2019 to animal.imports@mpi.govt.nz

Make sure you include in your submission:

  • the title of the consultation document in the subject line of your email
  • your name and title, if applicable
  • your organisation’s name (if you’re submitting on behalf of an organisation)
  • your contact details (for example, phone number, address and email).

While we prefer email, you can send your submission by post to:

Animal Imports
Ministry for Primary Industries
PO Box 2526
Wellington 6140
New Zealand.

All submissions received by the closing date will be considered before the amended IHS is issued. MPI may hold late submissions on file for consideration when the issued IHS is next revised or reviewed.

Steps to finalising the new IHS

After consultation on a draft import health standard, MPI publishes a provisional IHS.

If you made a submission during the consultation, you have 10 working days to notify the Director-General of MPI that you intend to request an independent review. Reviews are limited to whether or not specific scientific evidence was given sufficient consideration.

If no review is requested within 10 working days, then the provisional IHS is confirmed and issued as a standard.

For more information about reviews refer to:

Submissions are public information

Note that any submission you make becomes public information. People can ask for copies of submissions under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). The OIA says we have to make submissions available unless we have a good reason for withholding it. That is explained in sections 6 and 9 of the OIA.

Tell us if you think there are grounds to withhold specific information in your submission. Reasons might include that it’s commercially sensitive or it’s personal information. However, any decision MPI makes to withhold information can be reviewed by the Ombudsman, who may tell us to release it.

Legal background

MPI must consult with interested parties in accordance with section 23 of the Biosecurity Act 1993 (the Act) and MPI’s consultation policy before issuing or amending (other than of minor or urgent nature) import health standards (IHS) under sections 24A and 24B of the Act.

An IHS specifies import requirements that must be met either in the country of origin or of export, or during transit before biosecurity clearance can be given for the goods to enter New Zealand. MPI must ensure that these requirements are technically justified and provide an appropriate level of biosecurity protection.

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MPI working closely with response agencies as fire and drought conditions continue

Source: Ministry for Primary Industries

Date:

Media contact: MPI media team

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is monitoring the situation in Tasman district closely as further water restrictions are announced.

“This is a very challenging time for farmers, the horticulture and wine industries in the region and, of course, for the whole community who have been affected by wildfire and drought conditions,” says David Lindsay, MPI regional controller.

“We are working closely with Tasman District Council, Rural Support Trust and other agencies to ensure rural communities are supported as the drought bites and we move into the second week of the fire.”

A medium-scale adverse event for both fire and drought was recently declared for Tasman district, unlocking Government support for farmers and growers.

“We are monitoring the situation very carefully and are working with other agencies as the situation develops.”

“Please conserve as much water as possible while still providing for your animal and human welfare needs, as the dry conditions continue.”

Advice to rural communities

Providing shade and shelter

Contain livestock in paddocks where there is adequate shade for every animal. Check that the water supply is still drinkable. Low dams or ponds may be surrounded by mud or sludge. Fencing off these areas will prevent animals from potentially becoming entrapped.

Stock levels

It is critical stock levels on properties are appropriate to the water restrictions currently in place. Farmers and lifestyle block owners need to be making active destocking decisions.

Feedline

Federated Farmers has opened its Feedline to support farmers who have been affected by the fires and need extra feed or grazing for their animals. Farmers who are short of feed, or who have feed to donate, can contact Federated Farmers on 0800 32 76 46. Anyone affected by fires and needing feed for animals can register for this help but availability is dependent on donations and priority will be given to farms who rely on farm income for their living and have been affected by fire.

Wildfires and animal welfare

For properties affected by the wildfire, MPI has animal welfare staff at each cordon during the access periods. We encourage people to approach our staff at the cordons if they have any concerns or need help.

For further animal welfare advice or assistance contact MPI’s animal welfare team on 0800 00 83 33 (option 4).

Animal welfare officers are posted at the cordons, at each of the 4 valleys that were evacuated. We will be there every day when the cordons are open, to talk to people visiting their properties and animals.

In the valley areas where there is still restricted access, MPI has animal welfare staff at each cordon during the access periods and we encourage people to approach the MPI staff at those cordons if they have any concerns. They are there to make sure MPI is aware of any issues.

Rural Support Trust

Farmers and growers communities are also able to access support from the local Rural Support Trust who can provide free and confidential support, advice and referrals, including with health, finances and more. The Trust can be contacted on 0800 78 72 54.

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Shellfish biotoxin alert – South Island West Coast region

Source: Ministry for Primary Industries

Date:

Media contact: MPI media team

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) today issued a public health warning advising the public not to collect or consume shellfish harvested from between Hector south to Greigs on the South Island West Coast.

Routine tests on shellfish samples taken from Cape Foulwind has shown levels of diarrhetic shellfish toxins above the safe limit of 0.16 mg/kg set by MPI.  Anyone eating shellfish from this area is potentially at risk of illness.

Ongoing testing will continue and any changes will be communicated accordingly.

Mussels, oysters, tuatua, pipi, toheroa, cockles, scallops, catseyes, kina (sea urchin) and all other bivalve shellfish should not be eaten.

Note: cooking shellfish does not remove the toxin.

Pāua, crab and crayfish may still be eaten if the gut has been completely removed prior to cooking, as toxins accumulate in the gut. If the gut is not removed its contents could contaminate the meat during the cooking process.

Symptoms typically appear within half an hour of ingestion and last for about 24 hours. Symptoms may include:

  • diarrhoea
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • abdominal cramps.

If anyone becomes ill after eating shellfish from an area where a public health warning has been issued phone Healthline for advice on 0800 61 11 16, or seek medical attention immediately. You are also advised to contact your nearest public health unit and keep any leftover shellfish in case it can be tested.

Monitoring of toxin levels will continue and any changes will be communicated accordingly. Commercially harvested shellfish – sold in shops and supermarkets, or exported – is subject to strict water and flesh monitoring programmes by MPI to ensure they are safe to eat.

Find out more

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Sea lion captures in the southern squid fishery

Source: Ministry for Primary Industries

Five New Zealand sea lions have been captured so far this season in the squid fishery around the Auckland Islands. The season runs from the end of December to May-June.

Director fisheries management Stuart Anderson says these captures are incredibly disappointing.

“Catching 5 sea lions this early in a season is unusual – by comparison, last season 2 sea lions were captured in the whole season, and the season before there were 3 captures,” Mr Anderson says.

The commercial southern squid trawl fishery (SQU6T) overlaps with the foraging range of sea lions that breed at the Auckland Islands, which can lead to the accidental capture of sea lions in fishing gear.

“A number of initiatives to protect these important animals are already in place. All vessels fishing in the SQU6T fishery deploy Sea Lion Exclusion Devices, which help sea lions that enter the net to escape instead of being trapped. Unfortunately, not all sea lions escape in time,” says Mr Anderson.

“Sea lion deaths have substantially reduced over the last decade since all squid trawlers have fitted approved Sea Lion Exclusion Devices in their nets. Prior to their introduction, there used to be an estimated 70 to 140 sea lion deaths per year in trawl nets.

“Fisheries New Zealand onboard observers, who have observed all fishing effort in the squid fishery this year, noted that the vessels involved were complying with the Operational plan to manage the incidental capture of New Zealand sea lions in the Southern Squid Trawl Fishery.

Operational plan for 2016-17 [PDF, 2.4 MB]

“The vessels also correctly deployed Sea Lion Exclusion Devices at the time of the captures.

“There is more work to be done to reduce the impacts of fishing on sea lions, and we are always looking to improve the measures we have in place now to avoid interactions.

“Fisheries New Zealand will be consulting later this year on an updated operational plan for the SQU6T fishery.

“The new plan will be based on updated scientific information including an update of the demographic population model for Auckland Islands sea lions, an improved method of estimating interactions between sea lions and squid fishing, and a new approach to estimating the efficacy of Sea Lion Exclusion Devices.

“It’s important to note that fishing is just one of a number of threats sea lions are facing. The biggest threat is disease. We need to look at all the threats, which is why Fisheries New Zealand and the Department of Conservation implemented the New Zealand Sea lion/rāpoka threat management plan in 2017.

Download the threat management plan [PDF, 2.1 MB]

“Under the threat management plan, a number of research projects are being undertaken to understand and manage threats such as disease, fishing interactions, nutritional stress, and sea lion pup mortalities resulting from pups falling into holes at some breeding sites.

“However, there is plenty more work to do. We don’t just want the population to stabilise, we want it to thrive,” says Mr Anderson.

The Auckland Islands, lying almost 500km south of the South Island, are home to the largest breeding colony of New Zealand sea lions, comprising roughly 70% of the total sea lion population of over 12,000.

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