RE-ISSUED: Tasmania still TPP free thanks to strong biosecurity system

Guy Barnett,Minister for Primary Industries and Water

The Tasmanian Liberal Government has made biosecurity a priority to protect the state’s reputation as a premium producer of agricultural and seafood products.

Working closely with industry and the community, Biosecurity Tasmania has recently completed the first year of a three-year volunteer plant pest surveillance program called the ‘TPP Adopt-a-Trap-Survey’.

This survey is a national project led by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Western Australia, with support from Hort Innovation.

Tomato potato psyllid (TPP) is an exotic plant pest previously detected in Western Australia and on Norfolk Island and is a serious biosecurity threat to a variety of crops grown here in Tasmania, including potatoes, tomatoes and capsicums.

Strict biosecurity regulations are in place to reduce the risk of entry of this pest to Tasmania.

The ‘TPP-Adopt-a-Trap Survey’ project complements current regulations and has been undertaken to confirm that TPP remains contained to WA and Norfolk Island and that no new TPP incursions have occurred around Australia.

Between November 2019 and April 2020, sticky traps were deployed across 166 Tasmanian properties in Tasmania, with volunteers placing the traps in their garden or crop near TPP host plants for a week at a time before collection.

A total of 774 individual traps were returned to Biosecurity Tasmania’s Plant Diagnostic Services for analysis and the survey results have shown that Tasmania remains TPP free, which is a fantastic outcome and demonstrates that our strict biosecurity system is working.

Thank you to all the survey participants for volunteering, as well as Biosecurity Tasmania for coordinating the project and the huge undertaking of expertly analysing the hundreds of sticky traps.

Good biosecurity is a shared responsibility and this survey is an excellent example of industry, community and governments working together to help protect our important agricultural sector from the impacts of exotic pests.

Biosecurity Tasmania will be running the program again this coming season and will need as many volunteers as possible.

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