• Jason Regan

SA eradicates multiple fruit fly outbreaks

A spate of Mediterranean fruit fly outbreaks across metropolitan Adelaide has been eradicated, easing concerns for the state's $1.3 billion horticultural sector.

Restrictions on the movement of fruit in more than 170 suburbs have been reduced after a successful two-year operation involving 350 staff who visited 177,000 homes and properties and released 677 million sterile flies.

Biosecurity officials set 13,530 additional fruit fly traps, applied 467,000 litres of bait and collected 367 tonnes of fruit across the metropolitan area.

"This is by far the largest successful fruit fly eradication campaign ever delivered in Australia," Primary Industries Minister David Basham said. 
"By working together as a community, we have protected our local fresh fruit industry from the threat and we have also stopped this pest from spreading from Western Australia to the eastern states."

However, authorities are still dealing with outbreaks of Queensland fruit fly at suburban Ridleyton and in the state's Riverland. As long as there are no further detections, restrictions related to the Riverland outbreak will end on December 27 and in Ridleyton on February 22. 

Mr Basham said to prevent future outbreaks the state government would maintain the zero-tolerance approach at the Yamba border checkpoint and random roadside inspections, with heavy fines for travellers caught bringing prohibited fruit into South Australia or the Riverland.

At one stage the outbreaks across Adelaide and in regional centres were considered a real threat to the horticulture industry which employs about 37,000 people.

A parliamentary committee was told the outbreaks were the worst on record in SA.