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Fruit fly alert finds no infestation signs

The Ministry for Primary Industries say it has found no further signs of a Queensland fruit fly outbreak near the port of Whanmgarei.

The first trapping results have shown no suspect flies detected in all 83 traps in Zone A and in all 90 lure traps from outside the controlled zones.

Andrew Coleman, MPI’s deputy director-general compliance and response, says: “it’s a good early result but it’s important not to get complacent. We have still got a number of days to go before we know for sure whether there is a breeding population or not.”

Up to yesterday, the public had placed 180kg of restricted produce in bins in Zone A and 70kg in Zone B.

“We are very appreciative of this support,” Mr Coleman says. “It is vital that material that could contain the fly is not taken out of the zone, just in case there is a breeding population present in the area, which takes in Parihaka, Riverside and parts of central Whangarei.”

Meanwhile, the ABC reports fruit growers in South Australia have called on state governments there to put aside their differences and develop a joint response to fruit fly.

The first outbreak in more than two decades is posing a serious threat to the Riverland region's pest-free status and has put dozens of farmers under restrictions. Although no new flies have been detected since 11 were found on two properties just over a week ago, growers remain on edge.

The region has not experienced an outbreak since 1991. The South Australian government has a round-the-clock quarantine station at Yamba near the Victorian border aimed at keeping fruit fly out. Almost 1200kg of fruit was seized during a three-day blitz at Bordertown roadblock in one week.

The government attacked Victoria and New South Wales for scaling back their eradication efforts – but received some criticism back from across the border.

"I think it's very unfortunate that South Australia is pointing the stick as they are, around an issue that they have to control themselves," Victorian Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh was quoted as saying.

Citrus Australia chairwoman Tania Chapman says unified efforts are needed to combat the scourge.

"Quite clearly what we do need to do is to get all of the parties at the same table and really define what are the tools we've got, what are the tools we need, and really start to make a plan to go forward," she says.