Who does this notice affect?
This notice is of interest to all vessel masters and shipping agents who represent international commercial and non-commercial vessels for the purposes of Australian biosecurity clearance.
What has changed?
The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (the department) will commence its annual heightened vessel surveillance window for managing the risks posed by Asian Gypsy Moth (AGM), soon to be known as Flighted Spongy Moth Complex (FSMC), on vessels from 1 January 2023. The department will progressively change departmental references the naming to FSMC.
Upon submission of pre-arrival reporting by vessel masters or shipping agents, the Maritime Arrivals Reporting System (MARS) automatically emails an AGM Questionnaire to targeted vessels.
The department’s National Maritime Centre (NMC) officers will advise, through the Biosecurity Status Document (BSD) issued from MARS, if an AGM inspection or any specific biosecurity risk mitigation measures are required.
The department requests vessel masters and crew to remain vigilant for AGM and advise the department, as soon as possible, of any suspected detections of AGM. Early detection and accurate reporting of pests prior to arrival assists in managing the risk offshore where possible and minimises the level of intervention by the department for vessel arrival.
AGM surveillance is expected to conclude on 31 May 2023.
What to look for
The AGM is likely to enter Australia on vessels and cargo where they commonly settle on vessel hulls and rigging, cargo containers and vehicles.
The department has developed an AGM webpage to assist vessel masters and crew to detect AGM. Vessels masters should continue to remain vigilant for exotic insects and report detections to the NMC.
See. Secure. Report.
If you see this FSMC pest or any other pest that you think may have hitchhiked to Australia, contain it, where possible and immediately report it to the department:
- Phone 1800 798 636
- Complete an online reporting form
- Report via your shipping agent.
For your safety, ask to consult a department entomologist before handling specimens. Report a pest or disease concern.
Change of name to Flighted Spongy Moth Complex
The department is currently progressing changes to the website and forms to accommodate the change in name from Asian Gypsy Moth to Flighted Spongy Moth Complex.
On 2 March 2022 the Entomological Society of America formally announced that the common name for Lymantria dispar would now be “spongy moth” replacing the name “gypsy moth” which was considered derogatory. Other entomological societies followed suit and the common name spongy moth has become widely accepted.
The common name Asian Gypsy Moth (AGM) has been used to refer to a number of species and subspecies which are characterised by female flight, which differentiates them from Lymantria dispar. The new common name "Flighted Spongy Moth Complex" (FSMC) will be used to refer to the complex of moths formally known as AGM. The new name acknowledges the biological difference while maintaining the linkage to the common name introduced by the Entomological Society of America for Lymantria dispar.
For further information or assistance about the 2023 AGM season:
Arriving vessels – contact the department’s NMC by email to the NMC or phone 1300 004 605 (in Australia) or +61 8 8201 6185 (outside Australia).
Information on pre-arrival reporting for maritime vessels can be found on the department’s website under Vessels.
The department has developed a pest alert brochure to assist vessel masters and crew to detect hitchhiking pests of biosecurity concern, such as AGM. The pest alert brochure can be found on the department’s website.
The activities of assessment and inspection for seasonal pests, such as AGM, are chargeable in accordance with the department’s Charging Guidelines.
If you require further information, please contact the NMC on phone +61 8 8201 6185 (overseas) or 1300 004 605 (in Australia).
Vessel reporting requirements and the Biosecurity Act 2015
Vessel masters and shipping agents are reminded:
- To read and understand the Biosecurity Status Document (BSD) directions and conditions and keep a copy of the current document on board the vessel for the duration of the voyage in Australia.
- Any changes in circumstances during the voyage in Australian waters, particularly changes to the human health of travellers or reporting pests and diseases, must be submitted via MARS or reported to the NMC as soon as practicable.
- That a failure to report accurately or comply with a requirement under the Biosecurity Act may result in penalties, including infringement notices, civil penalties or criminal prosecutions.