Biosecurity NZ: More fruit flies will find their way to NZ as global warming continues

The Ministry for Primary Industries believe biosecurity incidents like fruit fly findings,will be more common going forward.

It follows the discovery of a third fruit fly in the space of a week.

The fly found in Auckland’s Northcote is a Queensland fruit fly, the same species found in Devonport.

Ministry of Primary Industries says the solitary male fly was identified yesterday.

The third fly, found in Otara, is of a species native to Tonga.

“It’s unusual to have three in such a short space of time,” said Catherine Duthie from Biosecurity NZ, a unit of MPI.

But she said there’s no evidence of a fruit fly outbreak at this stage.

"We are totally focused on finding out if there is an incursion of the Queensland fruit fly in these areas. At the moment, these are two single males found quite some distance apart, and there’s no evidence of a breeding population,” said MPI director general Ray Smith.

Ms Duthie told 1 NEWS: “We are expecting, as global temperatures rise and we have an increase in trade and international travel, these sorts of things will happen more frequently.”

“But that’s exactly what our post-border biosecurity system is geared up to deal with,” she said.

The latest fly detection has been followed with the announcement of an independent review into passenger pathways.

The review will be carried out by Rob Delane, an expert from Australia.

It will advise whether there are any gaps in our biosecurity system.

“There are a huge number of passengers coming across our borders every year and it is increasing, so we do need to review it every now and then,” Ms Duthie said.

Ms Duthie says following the review, MPI will take any necessary action.

More than 80 biosecurity staff are working across the three fruit fly operations that are underway.

Ms Duthie says the response in Northcote is ahead of schedule as a result of people already being on the ground.

Part of Northcote is under a "controlled area notice", with fruit and vegetable restrictions in place.

Pamphlets have been dropped in the area containing details about the operation, and workers are putting additional traps in the 200 metre radius around where the latest fly was detected.

Signs have been put up in the streets impacted in Otara and Devonport, and will be placed in Northcote tomorrow.

Bins will also be provided to properties in the area, so local people can safely dispose of fruit and vegetable waste.

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    The rise in global temperatures, as well as increase in trade and international travel, are to blame, Catherine Duthie told 1 NEWS. Source: 1 NEWS