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Tasmanian Biosecurity Advisories

Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment

Latest Advisories

Subscribing to get DPIPWE’s Biosecurity Advisories is the best way you can keep yourself up-to-date and fully informed about Tasmanian biosecurity issues. Our Advisories cover topics such as changes or proposed changes to Tasmania’s import regulations, animal health and welfare, plant health, forthcoming regulation reviews and opportunities for public comment, new or emerging pest/disease risks and a range of other matters related to Tasmania’s biosecurity.


Biosecurity Advisory 16/2018 – Caring for sheep and livestock in extreme weather - Animal welfare alert

Biosecurity Tasmania urges owners of sheep to be vigilant for any signs in their flock of cold stress brought about by forecast cold conditions and heavy rains. Sheep recently shorn and new lambs could be suffering due to the weather conditions and all reasonable precautions should be taken to minimise the effects of cold stress.

Sheep have a natural insulation to extreme weather with their fleece. In cold, wet and windy conditions, sheep shiver, huddle together in the mob and seek shelter behind windbreaks to produce and conserve heat. However, these mechanisms have limits. If weather stress is excessive or prolonged, the sheep's capacity to maintain a stable body temperature may be exceeded and cold stress will result. Hypothermia most commonly occurs in freshly shorn, light condition sheep during wet and windy conditions at any time of the year

Hypothermia literally means 'temperature below normal', occurs when too much body heat is lost or too little body heat is produced, and the result is a drop in body temperature. If weather stress is excessive or prolonged, a sheep's capacity to maintain a stable body temperature may be exceeded, and heat or cold stress will result.

High rainfall and high winds combined with temperatures below normal will cause mortalities in young animals, especially newly shorn sheep without shelter. The impact of the cold weather will depend on its duration, rainfall, wind speed and temperature—the 'wind chill' factor can double heat loss.

Sheep suffering from hypothermia often die as a result of their own behaviour and their attempts to cope. Sheep move in the direction of the wind until they are stopped by a barrier such as a fence, gully or creek. At this point they may pile on top of each other leading to suffocation or drowning. Sheep may be reluctant or unable to move when wet and cold.

Initially sheep will try to maintain their body temperature by:

  • shallow breathing in order to reduce the rate of respiration (that is, rapid respiration or panting causes heat loss)
  • shivering
  • seeking shelter
  • huddling together

If dealing with a small flock, consider applying garbage bags as coats for the sheep. Trials have shown that properly fitted plastic bags can decrease the loss of body heat even in severely hypothermic sheep.

Be prepared to relocate animals to a shed or land on higher ground, or move stock to paddocks with adequate windbreaks with tree or bush shelter in the event of very heavy rainfall or likely flooding.

Prioritise your animals, giving shelter to the most vulnerable such as the ewes and lambs and those newly shorn.

The Bureau of Meteorology have issued a flood watch for low lying / flood susceptible areas on Tasmania's east coast, advising graziers that they should prepare to move stock in expectation of heavy rainfall. Visit the BOM website for more information: http://www.bom.gov.au/jsp/watl/rainfall/pme.jsp

More information on caring for your sheep during cold weather can be found on the DPIPWE/Biosecurity Tasmania website: http://dpipwe.tas.gov.au/biosecurity-tasmania/animal-biosecurity/animal-welfare/hobby-farmers-and-smallholders/caring-for-sheep-in-cold-weather​​

(9/5/2018)
Categories: Cropping; Horticulture; Invasive Species; Livestock; Natural environment; Pasture; Policy and Legislation; Wildlife;


Biosecurity Advisory 15/2018 - Fruit Fly Update - 4 May 2018

​A major effort is being undertaken to eradicate fruit fly from Tasmania.

Included in this effort has been:
  • Approximately 2500 properties have cooperated with the fruit fly response
  • Spot baiting undertaken at approximately 1200 properties
  • Surveillance through checking of around 1000 permanent traps placed around the state
  • Checking of an additional 333 surveillance traps placed around infected sites
  • Approximately 4500 trap checks undertaken
  • Approximately 3300 larval surveys undertaken
This work would not have been possible without the support of the community and industry which has enabled access to properties for surveillance and eradication activities as well as reported possible signed of fruit fly for follow-up investigation.

Encouragingly, there have been no further detections of fruit fly either within or outside current control areas since the last update.    

On Flinders Island, no detections have been made at either Badger Corner or Trousers Point since January. At Lady Barron no detections have been made since March 21.

Within the northern control area no detections have been made at or near the Spreyton site since March 16.  At George Town no detections have been made since April 2. While at the other infected site, no detections have been made since February 14.

Although no further detections have been made, there is still further work to be undertaken to ensure these areas can be declared fruit fly free again and enable access to markets where restrictions are in place.

Agreement from the Commonwealth and trading partners is required to achieve the fruit fly freedom status. This means that Tasmania needs to maintain identified processes to give certainty to the Australian Government and our trading partners that we have eradicated fruit fly from the State.

While the cooler winter weather is believed to be a barrier to fruit fly establishment in Tasmania, this alone cannot be relied on to achieve eradication so it is necessary to continue with control measures over coming months.  

This means that we will need to maintain the current control areas on Flinders Island and in northern Tasmania for the coming months until agreement is reached with the Commonwealth and trading partners that they can be lifted.

The Government is continuing to work with the Australian Government to identify what measures and requirements continue to be needed and for how long to meet requirements for fruit fly freedom status being recognised.

The Department will continue to keep industry and the community informed of requirements and changes to requirements.

Mowbray update     

This site was not an outbreak but was investigated in line with established protocols for single fly detections. There have been no further fruit fly detections at Mowbray. Earlier this month, a single adult male Queensland fruit fly was detected at a residential property in Mowbray. Approximately 40 fruit fly traps have been established in the surrounding area and all fruit trees and other host plants have been inspected on more than 100 properties in the immediate vicinity.  Inspections consist of examining all fruit on trees for any evidence of infestation, plus taking a quantity of fruit from the tree and any fruit on the ground to be cut into small pieces to determine if any larvae are present. No further fruit flies have been detected. No evidence of larval infestation has been found. The traps will continue to be inspected for a period of nine (9) weeks after the initial detection.

Further information on fruit fly in Tasmania can be found on the DPIPWE website at: dpipwe.tas.gov.au/biosecurity-tasmania/plant-biosecurity/pests-and-diseases/fruit-fly​

(4/5/2018)
Categories: Cropping; Freshwater pests; Gene technology; Horticulture; Invasive Species; Livestock; Marine pests; Natural environment; Pasture; Policy and Legislation; Seeds; Timber imports; Wildlife;


Biosecurity Advisory 14/2018 - Citrus canker - reinstatement of import requirement in Tasmania

​Citrus canker (Xanthomonas citri susbp citri) has recently been detected in the Northern Territory.  Citrus canker is a serious disease of citrus and can have severe impacts on fruit quality and yield. Citrus canker is not harmful to people or animals.

Biosecurity Tasmania has declared citrus canker to be a List A disease under the Plant Quarantine Act 1997 and has re-in​stated the Import Requirement on the import of Citrus plants and plant products (including leaf material and fruit) as well as agricultural equipment and machinery that may have been in contact with the disease.

Find the re-instated​ Import Requirement 31 on the Biosecurity Tasmania website at: www.dpipwe.tas.gov.au/biosecurity-tasmania/plant-biosecurity/plant-import-restrictions​

Citrus canker has been detected in Australia previously and been successfully eradicated.

For more information on citrus canker, signs and symptoms, visit the NSW Department of Primary Industries website at: www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/biosecurity/plant/in​​​​​​sect-pests-and-plant-diseases/citrus-canker​

Furher information can also be obtained at the Outbreak website: www.outbreak.gov.au/current-r​esponses-to-outbreaks/citrus-canker​

If you think you have seen symptoms that look like citrus canker, call the Plant Pest Hotline on ​1800 084 881

(3/5/2018)
Categories: Cropping; Gene technology; Horticulture; Natural environment; Pasture; Policy and Legislation; Seeds;


Biosecurity Advisory 13/2018 - Timely reminder about Acute Bovine Liver Disease

​Dairy farmers are being encouraged to be vigilant and informed about an environmental disease that can affect cattle.​

The reminder comes as Biosecurity Tasmania confirmed a case of Acute Bovine Liver Disease (ABLD) on a property in the Derwent Valley. 

Acute Bovine Liver Disease is a toxic disease of the liver of beef and dairy cattle. It occurs sporadically throughout Tasmania with previously recorded cases in the northern midlands, the Derwent Valley and the Copping area. 

ABLD is an environmental disease and is not infectious. Like other photosensitivity conditions, it is believed ABLD is due to a toxin or toxin combination produced by a specific type of pasture fungi. The risk is often not farm-wide but rather associated with specific paddocks or areas within a paddock.

There is no specific treatment for ABLD, however moving the affected cattle away from the pasture where the disease was first observed and providing shade, easy access to water and other supportive treatments assists in recovery which can take many weeks. Deaths from secondary issues are common.

Autumn conditions particularly where there is intermittent warmth and cooling and the odd shower is historically associated with the occurrence of photosensitivity syndromes including ABLD. 

The cause of ABLD is unknown although the presence of rough dog’s tail grass (Cynosurus echinatus) and Drechslera spp. fungi in the pasture system is frequently associated with the disease. 

Biosecurity Tasmania thanks the examining veterinarian and farm manager for their cooperation. 


Further information is also available from the Department’s Livestock Officers by contacting 1300 368 550


(19/3/2018)
Categories: Cropping; Livestock; Natural environment; Pasture; Policy and Legislation;


Biosecurity Advisory 1/2018 - Fruit Fly Detection on Flinders Island

​Biosecurity Tasmania has identified the larvae of two fruit fly on a residential property at Lady Barron on Flinders Island. Entomologists have identified the larvae as a species of Bactrocera fruit fly. 

The larvae were discovered on apricot fruit grown in a residential backyard. Biosecurity officers are currently conducting survey work on the property and liaising with the property owners. At this stage, the incursion appears to be an isolated incident. These investigations will look at response planning as well as treatment options for the potentially infected fruit.

Residents in and around Lady Barron will receive information in coming days that will outline Biosecurity Tasmania's response plan, the treatment options and what measures people can take relating to the movement and removal of fruit. ​

The Flinders Island community, together with visitors to the island are urged to be vigilant and to look out for signs of fruit fly and larvae. Fruit fly larvae look like blowfly maggots and are usually easy to see in the flesh of the fruit. People are required by law to report promptly any signs of fruit fly on their property. If you see anything suspicious, immediately call the Biosecurity Operations Centre on 1800 084 881.

Images and more information about fruit fly can be found on the DPIPWE website:  http://dpipwe.tas.gov.au/biosecurity-tasmania/plant-biosecurity/pests-and-diseases/fruit-fly

(19/1/2018)
Categories: Cropping; Horticulture; Invasive Species; Natural environment; Pasture; Policy and Legislation; Seeds;

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