Piloting new techniques to control and eradicate Mediterranean fruit fly in Carnarvon

Page last updated: Monday, 15 July 2019 - 9:36am

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Piloting new techniques to control and eradicate Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly) in Carnarvon was part of the Boosting Biosecurity Defences program led by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) and made possible by Royalties for Regions and Horticulture Innovations Australia.

This project finished on 30 June 2019, although work continues in the area to support the local Carnarvon Growers Association Recognised Biosecurity Group manage this destructive pest.

Piloting new techniques to control and eradicate Mediterranean fruit fly in Carnarvon project aimed to trial new technologies in Medfly control to help protect the growing Carnarvon horticultural area, which produces over $100 million worth of fruit and vegetables annually.

The project combined the use of Sterile Insect Technique, area wide foliar baiting, crop hygiene and facilitated community engagement. It also trailed new technologies such as a new X-ray irradiation technique to sterilise Medfly more effectively, fly competiveness trials and transport and packaging and temperature protocols for maximum survival of flies for the journey from South Perth to Carnarvon

Medfly numbers in Carnarvon have been monitored throughout the project. A significant decrease in the average number of flies per trap per day (FTD) from 3.8 FTD in October 2015 to 0.53 FTD in May to October 2017 was noted. Trapping arrays to continue monitoring Medfly in Carnarvon have been established.

As part of this project, the department supported the Carnarvon Growers Association (CGA) to establish a Recognised Biosecurity Group (RBG) which was recognised by (then) Minister Baston under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management (BAM) Act 2007 in 2016 and susequently raised their first rates. 

This recognition and rating mechanism enables the CGA RBG to develop and manage their own coordinated approach to pest management into the future - accessing funds collected through a land-based rating scheme which are matched dollar-for-dollar by government.  This model could in future also be applied to monitor for or manage other potential pests. Local ownership and delivery of the program in the future also benefits the local economy and jobs in the longer term.

Contact information

Sonya Broughton
+61 (0)8 9368 3271