New Zealand fruit and vegetable growers should have confidence in the ongoing investigations into Auckland fruit fly detections, according to the Fruit Fly Council, which also says there is no evidence of a breeding population.
Several fruit flies – both Queensland and facialis fruit flies – have been detected in Auckland over recent weeks.
Stu Hutchings, chair of the governance group made up of impacted industry sector representatives and the Ministry for Primary Industries, says the responses set up in Otara, Devonport, and Northcote are “running well and are following the pre-agreed operational plans established and tested in previous responses”.
“These fruit fly finds are of great concern for our industries and that’s why we’re part of the governance group leading the investigations, ensuring the most appropriate action is taken to minimise any impact on growers and our wider industry.
“It’s been a priority since the day of the very first find for us all to work together in the best interests of our growers and do everything we can to determine whether there are more flies in the area, and if so, stop them from spreading any further.”
He said that despite the additional finds, there is “no evidence” of a breeding population, adding that this is “good news that can give us continued confidence in our biosecurity system, as well as the response actions taken so far”.
More than 10,000 kilos of fruit have been collected in the bins placed in the three affected response regions, and around 800 kilos of fruit have been gathered from properties within the A zones for examination.
“All the flies have been found in traps, which are very sensitive and an internationally proven method of surveillance. If there is a breeding population present, there is a high likelihood of finding it as the response continues over the coming days.”
Stu adds that although the trapping results reflect well on New Zealand’s surveillance system, the Fruit Fly Council backs MPIs recently announced an independent review of the air passenger, cruise and mail pathways.
“If there are any holes in the system currently, they need to be found and immediately fixed,” he said.