China: AQSIQ to strengthen quarantine on Tasmanian fruit imports
China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) will be paying extra attention to fruit imports from the Australian state of Tasmania, where specimens of Queensland fruit fly have been found within two control zones.
In a warning circular published this week, AQSIQ said any introduction of fruit fly into China would pose a serious threat to the country's fruit and vegetable industry.
The authority urged all of its offices and staff to step up inspection and quarantine of Tasmanian fruit.
AQSIQ said any suspected pests found on the host fruit would be withheld for lab testing, and if the pest were to be confirmed the produce would be either returned or destroyed.
The approach on the Chinese mainland is not as drastic as that of Taiwan, which has banned fruit from one of Tasmania's control zones around Flinders Island. It is highly likely Taiwan will take the same approach to fruit from the control zone around Spreyton in the state's northwest, given an adult fruit fly was detected there.
Earlier this week, Fruit Growers Tasmania (FGT) president Nic Hansen told Fresh Fruit Portal the detection of a male fruit fly was not as serious as if it had been a female fruit fly, and that he was confident in eradication efforts from Biosecurity Tasmania, industry and the public.
"The significance of it [the Spreyton detection] is it’s not to be unexpected if larvae is found and we’re continuing to follow the eradication path," he said.
"The first part of the protocol is to carry out spot baiting and spraying treatment of the affected area. That's within 200m of the incursion site and then out to a further 1.5km of the incursion site."
FGT business development manager Phil Pyke said the most affected crop was cherries, but thankfully the season is almost finished.
"We appreciate Taiwan working with the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to re-open the market which allows fruit already in transit from outside the control zone to be exported," Pyke said.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has reported Tasmania's Primary Industries Minister Jeremy Rockliff as vowing the state's biosecurity officers were "absolutely going to destroy these buggers" in reference to the pest.
"Farmers have been very supportive of the investment in biosecurity," Rockliff was quoted as saying, claiming the state would re-gain its fruit fly-free status.