Following a pathway review carried out after last summer’s two Queensland Fruit Fly detections in Whangarei, KVH and HortNZ advocated for changes to the way biosecurity is managed on yachts and cruise ships.
As a result MPI have increased the level of intervention on these pathways and are using detector dogs more frequently. Incoming yachts are now under much closer scrutiny, particularly through the high-risk summer season when the number of yachts entering New Zealand increases. Biosecurity detector dogs are being used for the first time on yachts coming in to Opua and Whangarei.
The use of detector dogs on yachts has already shown its value with dogs detecting fruit that had been deliberately concealed on two yachts this year. Concealed fruit would have been unlikely to have been found without the use of dogs, and is an action that puts New Zealand’s horticulture industry at risk. KVH strongly supports MPI pursuing prosecution for these deliberate actions.
Symptomatic leaf samples taken from wild kiwifruit growing in a Te Puke gully have tested Psa-V positive. The wild kiwifruit infestation was found in a gully between Te Puke’s No 1 and No 2 Roads and reported to KVH.
Wild kiwifruit is controlled in the Bay of Plenty through a collaborative programme funded by KVH, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and landowners. Any wild kiwifruit plants growing near producing orchards are prioritised for control. This reduces risk of transmitting Psa-V inoculum back into commercial orchards.
Thousands of plants are controlled annually, mostly by professional contractors who work methodically through often steep and difficult-to-access infested areas, including native bush and pine forests.
The wild kiwifruit management programme has been a successful example of government and industry cooperation. Fortunately, through previous years of intensive control work, the wild population was significantly reduced when Psa-V was first detected in 2010. This reduction limited the harmful effects of the bacterium establishing in wild plants. Contractors will continue to destroy wild kiwifruit, including in the area where the positive leaves were detected.
People are encouraged to report suspected wild kiwifruit locations to KVH or their local regional council.