TASMANIAN commercial fruit growers remain resilient in the face of the fruit fly outbreak but between 50 and 100 remain directly affected by control measures.
Fruit Growers Tasmania president, Nick Hansen, said growers had been working cooperatively with the state government and Biosecurity Tasmania to follow the strict protocols in place.
“Cold disinfectant protocols [cold storage] has been a big treatment option as has fumigation of fruit,” Mr Hansen said.
A commercial fumigation site in Devonport has been available to affected growers, which is at a new site after four Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment workers fell ill after working at the original facility at the Devonport Airport.
Biosecurity Tasmania chief executive, Lloyd Klumpp, said larvae and flies were still being found at infected sites but it was promising that no detection had been found outside the control areas.
He said it was not unusual to be still finding flies but Biosecurity Tasmania staff were determined to eradicate the pest.
“We can’t expect the weather to do our job for us,” Mr Klumpp said.
Mr Hansen said growers had been pleased with the state government’s response and particularly with newly minted Primary Industries Minister Sarah Courtney.
“I only received the Primary Industries portfolio a week ago but this is my highest priority, to eradicate fruit fly from Tasmania,” Ms Courtney said.
Mr Hansen said Ms Courtney had been personally phoning affected growers, to discuss the outbreak.
Earlier this month, Ms Courtney issued a “please explain” to the Victorian Agriculture Minister, Jaala Pulford, after fruit fly was detected on two occasions on fruit imported from treatment facilities in Victoria.
“Fruit fly is a national issue and one I’ve discussed with Tasmania’s new Minister for Primary Industries and her predecessor,” Ms Pulford said.
An investigation into how the pest arrived in Tasmania from Victoria is ongoing.