People wise-up to fruit fly

WATCHING: Chief inspector plant, health Wayne Marshall and manager, compliance Mark Langman await drivers travelling into SA to check for fruit. CONFISCATED: Biosecurity SA manager, compliance Mark Langman kneels next to five bags of fruit collected by 3pm on November 1.
Nanjing Night Net

BIOSECURITY SA has detected a 7 per cent reduction in people travelling across the border with fruit fly host materials.

Officers were stationed about 1km from the Victorian border on October 31-November 2 and monitored 948 drivers coming into SA with fruit.

There was about 300kg of fruit confiscated from drivers, which Biosecurity SA manager of compliance Mark Langman said was usually only about two pieces of fruit people had simply forgotten to throw away in Victoria.

“This time last year there was something like 27 per cent drivers that had fruit confiscated and this time it’s dropped to about 20 per cent,” Mr Langman said.

“We also noticed people took heed of the electronic warning sign to drop fruit off in pits (quarantine bins).

“We had the pits emptied only a month ago and it normally takes three months to fill but they were basically filled then and we put that success down to the message board.”

Offenders were not given on-the-spot fines as a result of a system amendment four years back.

Repeat offenders can face up to a $375 fi ne that would be posted out in the mail; this cost would include a Victims of Crime levy.

“You are looking at 10-12 pieces of fruit (to receive a fi ne), but sometimes we get much more than that which can be an automatic fi ne,” Mr Langman said.

“If you start bringing in larger quantities you can expect to get a fine coming through in the mail.”

Biosecurity SA is intending 12 road blocks this season – dependent on State Government funding.

“We divide it between entry points into the Riverland, because South Australians are not allowed

to take fruit fl y host material into the Riverland unless you’ve got a docket that the fruit is brought from a commercial supermarket,” Mr Langman said.

“However for fruit coming from across the border it’s a blanket ban on all fruit fl y host material and we also look out for potatoes, melons and those sorts of things for other pest reasons.”

For more information about fruit fly click here.

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