Major biosecurity operation finds no more fruit flies in Auckland suburb

A major biosecurity operation in Auckland has yet to find any more Queensland fruit flies after one was caught in a trap on Friday.

The capture of a single fruit fly in the Auckland suburb of Devonport on Friday prompted Biosecurity New Zealand to deploy additional fruit fly lure traps to determine if there was any sign of other flies in the area.

Restrictions were also put on the movement of fruit and vegetables out of the area to minimise the risk of any flies settling in other parts of the city or causing an outbreak.

However, as of Saturday, the large operation, which involves more than 55 staff, has uncovered no signs of any more fruit flies.

"If it established here, the Queensland fruit fly could have serious consequences for New Zealand's horticultural industry," said Biosecurity New Zealand spokesperson Dr Catherine Duthie on Friday.

"It can damage a wide range of fruit and vegetables and could lead to restrictions on trade in some of our horticultural exports."

"Ultimately there will be approximately 150 traps installed in the priority part of the suburb within 200 metres of where the fruit fly was trapped," said Biosecurity New Zealand in a statement on Saturday,

More lure traps are also being set up in a 1.5km radius of the initial find, while Biosecurity staff are visiting local properties to check fruit trees and other habitats that could be a suitable home for the flies.

Biosecurity New Zealand is working with international trading partners and partners in the horticultural industry to minimise the risk to exporters and growers.

Fruit flies typically enter New Zealand in fresh fruit and vegetables, which is why strict restrictions on their import are in place.

There are 7500 traps set nationwide which are checked regularly for fruit flies.

In 2015, fourteen fruit flies were found in Auckland's Grey Lynn, prompting a wide-scaled eradication operation which included a 3.5km export restriction zone.

More than 180 staff worked to stop the fly establishing a breeding system in the central suburb.

That operation cost the Ministry for Primary Industies $15.7 million, according to information obtained by Newshub.


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