Controls on fruit and vegetable movements lifted
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) confirms that all restrictions on the movement of fruit and vegetables in Whangarei have been lifted as of yesterday evening, Friday 7 February.
MPI Deputy Director General, Compliance and Response, Andrew Coleman, says this marks the milestone where two weeks of trapping, fruit sampling and testing is completed.
“We have received our final results from trapping and fruit examination and I am delighted to say that our rigorous checks found no further sign of the Queensland fruit fly in the Whangarei area. New Zealand’s fruit fly-free status remains intact, as it has throughout this response. There is no longer any need for residents in the area to be restricted in their movements of produce.”
A fortnight ago the Ministry put in place a 1.5 km diameter Controlled Area around where a single male Queensland fruit fly was found in a surveillance trap in the suburb of Parihaka. Residents were asked not to move whole fresh fruit or vegetables outside of this zone, which took in Parihaka, Riverside and parts of central Whangarei.
The move was precautionary while MPI carried out intensive checks for any further flies. Had a population been found, the controls in place would have prevented any spread of the pest fly out of the area.
“MPI would like to sincerely thank the wider Whangarei community and the Northland Regional Council for the fantastic support throughout this operation,” Mr Coleman says.
“This community help was vital. Queensland fruit fly is a major pest of a wide range of crops. Had this pest become established in New Zealand, it would have had serious consequences for our home gardeners, horticultural growers and the wider New Zealand economy.”
Mr Coleman says while the controls are lifted, this does not signal the end of work in the area.
“MPI will continue with its routine fruit fly surveillance programme, with an additional 33 traps left in high-risk locations such as near landfill and industrial areas.”
Should local residents find anything of concern, particularly insects or larvae in fruit, they should contact MPI’s Pests and Diseases Hotline – 0800 80 99 66.