Biosecurity alert: Citrus canker

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has taken action to protect Western Australia’s citrus industry from the threat of citrus canker following confirmation that the disease has been detected on three properties in the State's north, linked to imported plants from the Northern Territory.

The disease has been detected at two retail businesses at Kununurra and at a property in Wyndham. 

On 20 April 2018, the department stopped the import from the Northern Territory of plants, fruit and material from the Rutaceae family, which includes all citrus, to minimise any potential risk of spread. This action was taken following strong evidence of detection in the Northern Territory, where the disease has since been confirmed. Restrictions will be reviewed as more information becomes available.

Quarantine Areas

On 21 May 2018, the department declared two Quarantine Areas following the confirmed detection of citrus canker.

The Quarantine Area Notice restricts the movement of citrus canker host plants and any parts of those plants, including the fruit, outside a 50km radius of both the Kununurra post office and the Wyndham post office. This remains in place until 19 May 2019.

This restriction also applies to the movement of any machinery or equipment which has been in contact with citrus canker host plants.

These movement controls are part of a nationally agreed response plan to eradicate known infections, prevent any spread of the disease and protect the State’s valuable citrus production. 

About citrus canker

Citrus canker is a highly damaging and contagious disease that affects some Rutaceous plant species, including all citrus species (such as grapefruit, lime, lemon, mandarin, orange, tangerine and their hybrids) and non-citrus such as cumquats and Australian round lime. It is caused by the bacteria Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri. 

Infection decreases fruit quality and yield, and leads to defoliation, twig dieback, blemished fruit and premature fruit drop. In severe cases, the disease can cause tree death.

It does not affect human health or animals, and infected fruit remains safe to be consumed.

Visit the citrus canker web page for information on symptoms and hosts.

Report suspect symptoms

Citrus canker is declared a prohibited organism under section 12 of the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007. Any suspect detection must be reported.

Check your citrus plants for signs of disease and report anything unusual.

The symptoms of citrus canker include blister-like lesions on leaves, stems and fruit that are raised, tan to brown in colour, and are surrounded by an oily, water-soaked margin and a yellow ring or halo. Large or older lesions may have a crater-like appearance.

How to report

Page last updated: Tuesday, 22 May 2018 - 2:21pm


Rick Bryant