Field work is ramping up in Auckland today in response to the detection earlier this week of a single male Queensland fruit fly in a surveillance trap in Grey Lynn.
MPI, along with response partners and Government Industry Agreement partners KVH and Pipfruit NZ, have responded swiftly.
Today a field team of more than 90 staff is setting additional fruit fly lure traps to determine if other flies are present in the area. Field teams are also collecting samples of fruit from home gardens in the area to test for any flies or their eggs or larvae.
Chief Operations Officer Andrew Coleman says a mobile field laboratory will be in action later today to analyse fruit collected and also inspect any insects found through the trapping. First results from the trapping and fruit analysis are not expected until tomorrow morning (Friday).
“This is a very important operation. If established here, the Queensland fruit fly could have serious consequences for New Zealand’s horticultural industry. It can damage a wide range of fruit and vegetables and could lead to restrictions on trade in some of our horticultural exports.”
Controls are in place on the movement of fruit and some vegetables outside of a defined circular area which extends 1.5km from where the fly was trapped in Grey Lynn. Detailed maps of the controlled area and a description of the boundaries, and full information about the rules are at www.mpi.govt.nz.
The Ministry also has a new interactive map in place to assist local people work out if their property is inside or outside the Controlled Area. This map, which enables people to enter their address and check, is at: http://www.esam.co.nz/Fruitfly/
In short, whole fresh fruit and vegetables (except for leafy vegetables and root vegetables) cannot be moved outside of the Controlled Area.
Special bins for the disposal of fruit and vegetable waste are being delivered to residents in Zone A – the area closest to the location of the fruit fly find. Specially marked disposal bins are also being placed in handy locations in the wider Zone B – out to 1.5km from the find. The locations of these bins will be marked on a map and publicised.
“Our previous fruit fly operations have shown that public support is vital to success and we have always had terrific response from the community,” Mr Coleman says.
“I’d like to thank the people of Auckland for their co-operation in this response. Compliance with these restrictions is a critical precaution to protect our horticultural industries and home gardens,” Mr Coleman says.
“It is likely the restrictions will be in place for at least a couple of weeks.”
For further information, contact the MPI Mediaphone 029 8940328