Stronger biosecurity measures to manage stink bug risks

Australia has implemented stronger offshore biosecurity measures for the upcoming brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) season, to manage risks associated with this significant cargo pest.

Head of biosecurity at the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Lyn O’Connell, said BMSB are a threat to agricultural industries and the environment, feeding on over 300 different plant species.

“Between September and April there is a heightened risk that BMSB could arrive in Australia on imported cargo, so enhanced measures are put in place during this period to manage the risk and keep this pest out,” Ms O’Connell said.

“This season we have new measures that will apply to a broader range of exporting countries and high-risk goods, which we have identified as the most likely pathway for BMSB.

“This pest has continued to spread across Europe and expanding the list of countries that the new measures apply to will allow us to manage that increased risk.

“There will also be heightened surveillance for cargo vessels and additional pre-arrival reporting for vessel operators, who will be required to undertake daily checks of their vessels and cargo for biosecurity risks.

“Certain high-risk goods may also require mandatory offshore treatment, but this must be undertaken by an approved offshore treatment provider that has registered with the department.”

BMSB emerged as a biosecurity threat for Australia in 2014. They are a threat to a large range of plant species, including fruit, vegetables and ornamental plants.

If BMSB was to arrive in Australia, it could significantly impact on the nation’s plant health and potentially impact on trade.

The department has been engaging with industry on the measures to ensure both the biosecurity risk is managed and the movement of goods across the border is as smooth as possible.

“The approach we are taking ensures that we are focusing our biosecurity efforts and targeting areas that pose the highest risk,” Ms O’Connell said.

“Australia’s biosecurity will always be our priority and these BMSB measures are one more way our biosecurity system is protecting agricultural productivity and our valuable export markets.”

For more information, visit Seasonal Measures for BMSB.

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