Duck shooters asked to keep mozzie watch

30 April 2009

Marlborough duck shooters heading out to their mai mai for the start of the season this weekend should report any aggressive or unusual mosquito activity around salt marsh areas.

MAF Biosecurity New Zealand (MAFBNZ) is continuing its southern salt marsh mosquito eradication programme in Wairau (between the Vernon Lagoons and the Kidney Ponds north to the Wairau Diversion) and says duck shooters hunting in these areas will be ideally positioned to help with surveillance.

The southern saltmarsh mosquito can be a carrier of Ross River virus, which causes a severe flu-like illness in humans.

"The main feature of the Australian mosquito is that, unlike most native species, it is a day-time biter," says MAFBNZ Incursion Manager David Yard.

As a result of the eradication programme, the risk of southern saltmarsh mosquito activity is extremely low, he says.

There has been no adult southern saltmarsh mosquito caught in Wairau since October 2006. And there have been no larvae or pupae detected in the area since June 2008.

"That said, anyone who experiences day-time mosquito biting near a salt marsh area should note the location and call the MAF Exotic Pest and Disease Emergency Hotline - 0800 80 99 66.

Aerial treatments of the area by helicopter are continuing. Weather permitting, these occur every 21 days concentrating in the Wairau basin area with the next treatment due to occur on Monday 4 May. Duck shooters should therefore be aware of this activity, says David Yard.

"Ground surveillance will continue until June 2010. If no further evidence of southern saltmarsh mosquito is found in this time, the Wairau eradication operation will be wound down," says Mr Yard.

MAF Exotic Pest and Disease Emergency Hotline - 0800 80 99 66

For further information, contact:

Lesley Patston, Senior Communications Adviser, Ph 04 894 0163 or 029 894 0163

Contact MPI

for general enquiries phone

0800 00 83 33