National Management Group considers recent activities for the Exotic Fruit Flies in the Torres Strait Response Program - 21 June 2017

The National Management Group (NMG) for Exotic Fruit Flies in the Torres Strait met on 21 June 2017 to consider the 2015-16 annual report and efficiency audit for the response program. The NMG comprises all Australian governments, affected industries and Plant Health Australia.

The efficiency audit found that the program is effectively and cost efficiently managing exotic fruit fly in the Torres Strait, preventing their spread to the mainland. The success of the program has been demonstrated over the recent 2015-2016 season, which was the biggest year for both detections and responses to exotic fruit flies since 1999.There were no detections of target species on the mainland during this period. However, some areas for improvement were identified and the NMG will consider a revised response plan in early 2018 to address these.

This eradication program is of considerable benefit to Australian horticultural industries and has operated successfully to eradicate seasonal incursions of Oriental fruit fly (Bactrocera dorsalis), melon fly (Zeugodacus cucurbitae) and New Guinea fruit fly (B. trivialis) in the Torres Strait. It has been operational in Torres Strait for over 20 years and has successfully prevented exotic fruit flies establishing in mainland Queensland during that time.  Establishment of exotic fruit flies on the mainland of Australia would have severe implications for domestic and international trade, with the potential losses to producers estimated at $2.1 billion.1

The program has strong national support and is jointly funded by the Australian Government, all affected state and territory governments, and affected industries under the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed. This support has been strengthened with the vegetable industry joining the cost shared parties at the recent NMG meeting.

The eradication response is conducted in a partnership between the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

1. Benefit-Cost Analysis of the Long-Term Containment Strategy for Exotic Fruit Fly in Torres Strait. ABARES 2014.