BIOSECURITY ALERT: Tomato Potato Psyllid (TPP)

On behalf of the Australian nursery industry NGIA, through John McDonald and Peter Vaughan, have been working with affected industries, state, territory and commonwealth governments on a national response to delimit and contain a significant biosecurity issue as detailed below.

John through his role on the Consultative Committee on Emergency Plant Pests (CCEPP) and Peter through his role on the National Management Group (NMG) working under the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed (EPPRD) have been involved in the development and approval of a response plan to be managed by the Department of Agriculture and Food in WA. John and Peter have worked with Matthew Lunn (CEO) and Carole Fudge (President) from NGIWA on this issue. The most important aspect of all our involvement has been to represent NGI members and the broader industry to ensure appropriate measures are in place to protect and support businesses while addressing the concerns of all stakeholders including government and horticultural industries. Negotiate the best outcome for all parties involved.

National Management Group agrees to a national response

National Management Group agrees to a national response to delimit and contain the (Bactericera cockerelli) (Tomato Potato Psyllid)/Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (CLso) complex to a known area and treat, manage and suppress populations towards achieving eradication from Western Australia - 22 March 2017

The National Management Group (NMG) for Tomato Potato Psyllid —comprising all Australian governments, affected industries and Plant Health Australia—has agreed to a national response to the incursion of Tomato Potato Psyllid (TPP) in Western Australia.

TPP is a tiny sap-sucking insect that attacks a range of plants in the Solanaceae family, including potato, tomato, eggplant, capsicum, chilli and tamarillo, as well as sweet potato in the Convolvulaceae family. This pest is exotic to Australia and poses a significant threat to important horticultural crops as well as potentially transmitting Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (CLso), which causes the serious exotic disease ‘zebra chip’ in potatoes.

TPP was detected in the Perth metropolitan area on 3 February 2017 and, since then, there have been a small number of detections outside this area.

The NMG considers responding to the TPP incursion to be in the national interest given the potential for substantial economic impacts should the complex become established in Australia, with members endorsing a short term response plan. This plan will be led by the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA). The NMG will consider the appropriateness of the initial response in 30 days, noting this period will allow critical information on the nature and spread of the complex to be collected.

Arrangements are already in place to limit the spread of the pest complex.

DAFWA has implemented restrictions on the movement of commercially grown vegetables and nursery stock produced in the Perth area. A Quarantine Area Notice has been declared for the Perth metropolitan area and other local government districts until 30 October 2017. The quarantine area includes a control zone and suppression zone. Under the notice, a person must not move, or cause or allow to be moved, any host plants, produce of host plants or machinery or equipment used in association with host plants from a place within the quarantine area to any other place. Further information on the Quarantine Area Notice can be found on the DAFWA webpage.

DAFWA has also developed a detailed surveillance plan targeting commercial and residential growers in the Perth metropolitan and regional areas of Western Australia. The surveillance plan will guide detection, eradication, suppression and control efforts, and establishes a watch zone covering non-quarantine areas of Western Australia with a view to proving an area of freedom to support continued trade in solanaceous plants and produce.

Since the detection of TPP, interstate movement controls for risk material have been in place. These will remain in place pending greater confidence around the containment of this complex. Western Australia is working with other state and territory governments to develop a protocol to support future interstate movements. There are no international trade restrictions or changes to import conditions at this point in time.

The Australian Government, all state and territory governments, and affected industries are contributing to the cost of the response.

For further information please contact the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia’s Pest and Disease Information Service on 1800 084 881 or John McDonald on (07) 3277 7900.