War declared on Loxton outbreak with sterile fly release

The State Government has declared war on the Loxton Queensland fruit fly outbreak with the release of millions of sterile flies beginning this week in a major assault to get rid of the pest.

The on-ground attack in the outbreak area at Loxton will involve release of sterile flies produced at the Port Augusta based National Sterile Insect Technology (SIT) facility.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the release of sterile Queensland fruit flies in the outbreak area is a key tool in eradicating the pest from Loxton.

“The use of SIT fruit flies in outbreaks in South Australia has proven highly successful and this week’s release in the Riverland is a shot across the bow of Queensland Fruit Fly in the region,” said Minister Whetstone.

“The release of the sterile flies will occur over several weeks and they will mate with any remaining wild fruit flies to help eradicate them.

“The Riverland SIT release is a first for the region and further demonstrates South Australia’s leadership in adoption of fruit fly technology.

“Eradicating Queensland fruit fly from Loxton is a priority for this government and we will continue to invest in protecting the state’s $1.25 billion horticulture industry vulnerable to the fruit fly and eliminating the pest from South Australia.

“We are working closely with affected industry and the Commonwealth Government on the Loxton outbreak and I want to acknowledge the excellent and vigilant work being undertaken on the ground by Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA).”

The eradication response involving SIT, hygiene and baiting operations is regarded as the best method for effective fruit fly eradication.

“Keeping South Australia free of fruit fly is everyone’s responsibility and that it is why the State Government has introduced zero tolerance at the Yamba Quarantine Station and random roadblocks to change the culture of motorists carrying host material into the state,” said Minister Whetstone.

The Loxton quarantine zone will be lifted on 29 April 2019 without any further detections.

The release is part of the SITplus program, a nation-wide partnership that aims to assist in eradication of Q-fly outbreaks across Australia.

For the latest information on the eradication response at Loxton and keeping South Australia fruit fly free visit www.pir.sa.gov.au/fruit_fly

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