Stink bug risk spurs action

By Country News

Australia has implemented stronger offshore biosecurity measures for the coming brown marmorated stink bug season to manage risks associated with this significant cargo pest.

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ biosecurity head Lyn O’Connell said the bugs were a threat to agricultural industries and the environment, feeding on more than 300 different plant species.

‘‘Between September and April there is a heightened risk that BMSB could arrive in Australia on imported cargo, so enhanced measures are put in place during this period to manage the risk and keep this pest out,’’ Ms O’Connell said.

‘‘This season we have new measures that will apply to a broader range of exporting countries and high-risk goods, which we have identified as the most likely pathway for BMSB.

‘‘This pest has continued to spread across Europe and expanding the list of countries that the new measures apply to will allow us to manage that increased risk.

‘‘There will also be heightened surveillance for cargo vessels and additional pre-arrival reporting for vessel operators, who will be required to undertake daily checks of their vessels and cargo for biosecurity risks.

‘‘Certain high-risk goods may also require mandatory offshore treatment, but this must be undertaken by an approved offshore treatment provider that has registered with the department.’’

The stink bugs emerged as a biosecurity threat for Australia in 2014. The bugs are a threat to a large range of plant species, including fruit, vegetables and ornamental plants.

If the brown marmorated stink bug was to arrive in Australia, it could significantly impact on the nation’s plant health and potentially impact on trade.

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