If there’s one thing every Australian knows — and dreads — about summer, it’s the flies.
There’s a reason that methodically waving flies away from your face is known as the Aussie salute.
Most of the time they’re no more than an irritation. But Tasmania’s fruit industry could be facing a multimillion dollar hit from unwanted mainland trespassers.
Taiwan partially suspended fruit imports from Tasmania after fruit flies and their larvae were found in the state’s north.
Adult flies, considered a list-A pest in the Apple Isle, have been discovered this month at Flinders Island and at Spreyton, near Devonport.
Primary Industries Minister Jeremy Rockliff on Wednesday confirmed Taiwan was no longer importing fruit from those areas but unaffected Tasmanian mainland markets remained open.
Rockliff told reporters:
‘We’re keeping in close contact with our protocol countries, particularly Taiwan and China.
‘China has appreciated our ongoing brief, they have not suspended any trade as yet, which is welcome.’
Tasmania relies on its fruit-fly-free status to export to million dollar premium markets in Japan, Korea, USA, China and Taiwan.
Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment Biosecurity Tasmania general manager Lloyd Klumpp said the suspension of trade was not unexpected. In a statement, he said:
‘We recognise the importance of this market to local producers and we will be working closely with industry and the Australian government to … re-establish market access as soon as possible’.
A 15 kilometre control zone has been set up around Spreyton, where Queensland fruit fly larvae was found in a backyard apricot tree.
Biosecurity Tasmania staff are spraying and setting up traps at hundreds of properties in the area.
Trade from Tasmania is continuing to other overseas markets, plus domestic markets that don’t have biosecurity requirements for the Queensland fruit fly.
The fly is found along Australia’s eastern seaboard and in the Northern Territory.
It was declared a list-A pest in Tasmania in 1997.
The Australian Tribune with AAP