Biosecurity New Zealand has imposed a ban on taking fresh fruit and vegetables outside an area around the Devonport suburb of Auckland after a Queensland fruit fly was found yesterday.
The single male Queensland fruit fly was found in a surveillance trap, prompting immediate action against the risk to horticultural exports valued at $6 billion.
Biosecurity NZ has released a detailed map of the controlled area with details of the boundaries and rules at biosecurity.govt.nz/fruitfly
The area covers Devonport, Cheltenham and part of Stanley Point.
In a small area around Devonport village, no whole fresh fruit and vegetables, except leafy vegetables and root vegetables, can be moved outside the Zone A area. This applies to all produce regardless of where it was purchased or grown.
In the wider Zone B area, the restrictions only apply to fruit and vegetables grown within the zone.
Biosecurity NZ spokeswoman Dr Catherine Duthie said the legal controls were an important precaution while work took place to see if further flies were present.
If they were, she said, the measures would help prevent their spread.
"It is likely the restrictions will be in place for at least a couple of weeks," Duthie said.
Biosecurity NZ staff have been setting more traps and distributing information to households. Road signs are due to go up warning people of the restrictions.
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Duthie said the Queensland fruit fly had been detected six times before in northern New Zealand – in Whangārei and in Auckland.
"Of these detections, only one, in Auckland in 2015, turned out to be a part of a wider breeding population and this was successfully eradicated by Biosecurity NZ."
Authorities spent $13.6 million eradicating the last major fruit fly threat in 2015.
However, the Ministry for Primary Industries said at the time the money was well spent given the risk the flies pose to the country's horticulture exports, which are forecast to rise 12 per cent this year to $6 billion.
The MPI has a network of about 7500 fruit fly traps across the country but biosecurity teams had been busy in Auckland this week setting additional "lure traps to determine if other flies are present in the area".
"It is vital to find out if this insect is a solitary find or if there is a wider population in Auckland that will need to be destroyed," Duthie said.
Biosecurity NZ said it was working with international trading partners and partners in the horticultural industry to minimise the risk.
The most likely way that fruit flies can arrive in New Zealand is in fresh fruit and vegetables.
To reduce the risk there are regulations governing the commercial import of fresh fruit and vegetables, while air and sea passengers are not allowed to bring them into the country.
More information about the Queensland fruit fly can be found on the MPI biosecurity website.