NZ govt reinstates produce restrictions after another fruit fly is found in Auckland

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NZ govt reinstates produce restrictions after another fruit fly is found in Auckland

Biosecurity New Zealand has reintroduced controls on fruit and vegetable movement in the Auckland suburb of Northcote following the discovery of another male fruit fly in the area, having lifted the previous measures just a few weeks ago.

The fruit fly was found in one of an enhanced network of traps that were installed after several male fruit flies, six in total, had been detected in the area between February 20 and March 14, says authorities from the government group.

“This latest fly was found 185 meters (m) from the edge of the previous Control Zone A, and 460m away from where a cluster of male flies was found,” says Biosecurity New Zealand spokeswoman Dr Catherine Duthie.

She explains: “While it is disappointing there has been another detection, and we need to increase our operational presence on the ground again, it does show our surveillance systems are working.

“Despite this latest find, there is still no evidence of a breeding population. This latest fly showed indications it was relatively elderly for a Queensland fruit fly, suggesting it may be from the same cohort as the earlier detections.”

While restrictions were placed on the movement of fruit and vegetables on the nation's north shore after the first few flies were caught, they were lifted earlier this month after weeks-long surveillance hadn't detected any further activity of the species.

With the recent discovery, however, Biosecurity New Zealand says its next steps involve boosting surveillance activity and the number of traps in the Controlled Area.

It also plans to increase the collection of fallen fruit, reinstall Biosecurity New Zealand signage, and provide wheelie bins in the area for residential fruit disposal.

The government warns that no fruits or vegetables - excluding 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, it stresses that compost and green waste from gardens cannot be moved out of this Zone, and residents in this area are being asked to avoid composting fruits and vegetables.

To dispose of fruit and vegetable waste, they are encouraged to use a sink waste disposal unit if possible or bins provided by Biosecurity New Zealand, which will be delivered to various locations on Monday.

Concerning Zone B – no fruit and vegetables grown in the Zone can be moved out of the Controlled Area, says authorities. Only produce that has been sourced commercially from outside the area can be transported.

Biosecurity NZ comments that they are very appreciative of the support they received earlier this year and apologize for any inconvenience these new restrictions might cause.

"We are very grateful for the support residents in Northcote gave us previously and I am confident that support will continue.

"We know it's a big inconvenience but it's vital for our horticultural industry - and the $6 billion that contributes to our economy - that we do this. We don't want this pest to establish here," says Duthie.


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