Tasmanian Biosecurity Advisories
Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment
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.
Rabbit management requires an integrated and strategic plan of action using a range of tools and techniques.
The most effective outcomes occur when management efforts look beyond property boundaries and involve a high degree of cooperation between affected landowners, community groups and other stakeholders. Landowners have primary responsibility for managing rabbits on their land.
Calicivirus is used as one option in a suite of available management options to avoid very high rabbit population numbers.
Biosecurity Tasmania provides advice on rabbit control and regulates the annual release of calicivirus. This is because calicivirus is a biological control agent, and its effective use can be more complex than other control options.
Biosecurity Tasmania officers assess properties in response to enquiries from landowners and determine the suitability for release of calicivirus or whether other control options may be more appropriate.
What is happening in 2021?
As a consequence of the good growing conditions, this year will be a challenging year for rabbit control.
With this summer’s high rainfall, there is currently an abundance of food available, especially grass, so conditions are good for rabbits to breed and they may be less likely to take calicivirus treated bait.
Biosecurity Tasmania will continue to undertake property assessments across the state, however calicivirus release may be very limited this year given the amount of alternative feed available.
No release sites for 2021 have been published at this stage.
The release sites from last year (2020) are still available on the Department website.
If properties are assessed as suitable for calicivirus release, the areas will be listed on the Department website. Individual properties are not publicly identified.
Calicivirus is typically released during the March to July period in areas where identified rabbit numbers are problematic.
What strain of calicivirus is used in Tasmania for rabbit control?
RHDV1-K5 is the only strain released by Biosecurity Tasmania. RHDV1-K5 is a strain of the original RHDV1 virus, which was first released in Tasmania in 1997.
In 2016, a new variant of calicivirus, RHDV2, was detected in Tasmania. Previously detected on the mainland, it is not known how RHDV2 arrived in Australia or Tasmania. RHDV2 is not registered for use as a biological control agent and is NOT released by the Tasmanian Government.
How best to protect domestic rabbits?
Rabbit owners are encouraged to talk with their veterinarian regarding protection against caliciviruses. There is currently no approved vaccine available in Australia against RHDV2.
Strategies for protecting pet and farmed rabbits from caliciviruses, including important biosecurity measures, can be found on the Department website.
Where to go for more information?
Rabbit owners and landholders are encouraged to visit the Department website for more information on calicivirus and rabbit management: https://dpipwe.tas.gov.au/invasive-species/invasive-animals/invasive-mammals/european-rabbits
(3/3/2021)Categories: Cropping; Freshwater pests; Gene technology; Horticulture; Invasive Species; Livestock; Marine pests; Natural environment; Pasture; Plant diseases; Plant pests; Policy and Legislation; Seeds; Timber imports; Wildlife;
The Tasmanian Government is strengthening Tasmania’s cat management with important changes to the Cat Management Act 2009 coming into effect from today.
Key amendments commencing today:
• A cat that is being cared for at a cat management facility must be microchipped and desexed before being reclaimed from the facility. Exemptions to microchipping will apply where a vet certifies microchipping will affect the health and welfare of the cat; exemptions to desexing will apply to cats owned by registered breeders for the purpose of breeding or where a vet certifies desexing will affect the health and welfare of the cat. The costs of microchipping, desexing and care of the cat at the facility are the responsibility of the owner of the cat.
• A person will be permitted to trap a cat on their private property, provided the trap is checked at least once within every 24-hour period after the trap is first set; and a trapped cat is either returned to its owner; or taken to a cat management facility or a nominee of a cat management facility, within 24 hours of being trapped. Arrangements should be made with cat management facilities before setting a trap.
• A person managing ‘primary production land’ or occupier of ‘production premises’ is permitted to humanely destroy a cat on ‘primary production land’ or at ‘production premises’. Persons undertaking lethal cat management action would need to comply with other relevant legislation, such as the Animal Welfare Act 1993 and the Firearms Act 1996.
The amendments deliver on recommendations for legislative change identified in the Tasmanian Cat Management Plan 2017-2022 which is Tasmania’s first comprehensive plan addressing management of domestic, stray and feral cats.
The amendments are the result of extensive consultation with industry, local government, animal welfare groups, environmental and agriculture stakeholders through the Tasmanian Cat Management Reference Group, and public feedback directly on the amendments and other processes.
Further changes will be rolled out over the next 12 months to give people time to adjust to the new requirements.
Key amendments commencing in March 2022:
• Cats over the age of four months must be microchipped and desexed.• A person must not keep more than four cats, over the age of four months, on their property without a multiple cat permit.• The State Government will no longer be registering cat breeders. Anyone wishing to breed a cat in Tasmania will be required to be a member of a cat organisation or will have the option of applying for a conditional permit to breed a cat.• The option of a Care Agreement on the sale of a cat will be removed.
For more information on the amendments to the Cat Management Act 2009 and the Tasmanian Cat Management Plan go to https://dpipwe.tas.gov.au/invasive-species/cat-management-in-tasmania/
(1/3/2021)Categories: Cropping; Horticulture; Invasive Species; Livestock; Natural environment; Pasture; Policy and Legislation; Wildlife; Timber imports; Seeds; Plant pests; Plant diseases; Marine pests; Gene technology; Freshwater pests;
Following extensive industry and community consultation, the Biosecurity Act 2019 (the Act) introduces a new legal obligation in Tasmania known as the General Biosecurity Duty, or GBD.
The General Biosecurity Duty is expected to come into effect on 31 March 2021.
The Act emphasises the importance of shared responsibilities and the need for government, industry and the community to work together to maintain a strong biosecurity system.
The GBD will operate as a statutory “duty of care” for everyone (government, industry and the community) in respect to biosecurity.
This will mean that all Tasmanians will have a duty to take all reasonable and practicable measures to prevent, eliminate, or minimise biosecurity risks when dealing with any biological matter or carrier, if they ought to know that there may be a biosecurity risk. The GBD also applies to visitors to Tasmania and to individuals and businesses who import biological material or equipment into Tasmania.
This does not mean that you need to be a biosecurity expert, however you do need to know about the biosecurity risks that apply to your specific industry, business, work environment or pastimes - and how to manage and minimise those risks to the best of your ability. For many biosecurity stakeholders, the introduction of the GBD will not change the way they go about their daily business or recreational activities.
The GBD reinforces that everyone has a role to play in protecting our unique environment and primary industries against biosecurity risks.
Understanding and meeting your GBD responsibilities will help protect your business, our primary industries, the environment and our way of life here in Tasmania.
Biosecurity Tasmania has developed a range of helpful resources to assist you to understand the GBD, to identify your GBD responsibilities to help keep Tasmania biosecurity safe.
You can find more information on the website: www.dpipwe.tas.gov.au/GBD
We all have a General Biosecurity Duty to help protect Tasmania from pests, weeds and diseases.
(25/2/2021)Categories: Cropping; Freshwater pests; Gene technology; Horticulture; Invasive Species; Livestock; Marine pests; Natural environment; Pasture; Plant diseases; Plant pests; Policy and Legislation; Seeds; Timber imports; Wildlife;
The National Feral Pig Action Plan Steering Group is seeking public comment on the National Feral Pig Action Plan (the Plan).
(16/2/2021)Categories: Cropping; Gene technology; Horticulture; Invasive Species; Livestock; Natural environment; Pasture; Plant pests; Policy and Legislation; Wildlife;
The Wildlife Management Branch of the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) have received a submission for the import of snow leopard (Panthera uncia) into Tasmania.
A risk assessment of the species has been undertaken by DPIPWE and public comments are invited by 18 February 2021.
Details of the species profile and risk assessment is available for viewing on the DPIPWE website at: https://dpipwe.tas.gov.au/wildlife-management/management-of-wildlife/wildlife-imports/species-risk-assessments-for-comment.
(12/2/2021)Categories: Wildlife; Policy and Legislation; Gene technology; Invasive Species; Livestock; Natural environment; Marine pests; Pasture; Cropping; Freshwater pests; Horticulture; Plant diseases; Plant pests; Seeds; Timber imports;
Biosecurity Tasmania is currently investigating a detection of blueberry rust (BBR) on a small commercial blueberry farm in the north of the State.
Biosecurity Tasmania officers are currently conducting further surveys on the property and a Direction notice has been issued to restrict the movement of fruit and plant material, equipment, staff and visitors. Biosecurity Tasmania has also commenced the necessary tracing investigations.
This detection is an important reminder of the importance of ongoing blueberry rust vigilance.
Have you noticed any suspect looking blueberries you have picked or purchased? Have you checked your blueberry plants at home for signs of blueberry rust?
Look for signs of brown-rust coloured lesions on the top and yellow-orange pustules on bottom sides of leaves. Yellow-orange pustules may also appear on the mature fruit.
If you think you may have blueberry rust, please call Biosecurity Tasmania immediately on 03 6165 3777.
Suspect looking fruit should be secured in a zip lock bag, and placed in the refrigerator before calling Biosecurity Tasmania to report the find.
If you do suspect blueberry rust in your plants at home, please do not disturb or move the plants – Biosecurity Tasmania officers will come to you. Care should also be taken to ensure that any clothes or equipment do not become contaminated.
Throughout the berry season all Tasmanians are encouraged to remain vigilant for any signs of plant pests and diseases.
Good biosecurity is a shared responsibility and we all have an important role to play in helping to protect our industries, environment and way-of-life from the impacts of pests, weeds and diseases.
Further information about blueberry rust, including signs and symptoms, is available on the Biosecurity Tasmania website: www.dpipwe.tas.gov.au/blueberryrust
(5/2/2021)Categories: Horticulture; Invasive Species; Plant diseases; Plant pests; Cropping; Natural environment;
Serpentine leafminer (SLM, Liriomyza huidobrensis), has been declared a List A Regulated Quarantine Pest of concern to Tasmania following an outbreak of the pest in New South Wales and Queensland in late 2020.
This declaration follows a rapid risk assessment conducted by Biosecurity Tasmania (BT), that determined SLM is likely to have the capacity to establish and spread in Tasmania.
SLM has a very wide host range that includes many crop species (particularly leafy greens and vegetables), ornamentals and weeds that are present in Tasmania.
Signs of SLM include feeding punctures and irregular leaf mines on leaves and other green material (e.g. pods and green stems). In some cases, heavy infestations can lead to necrosis and plant death. See the SLM webpage for more information.
For Tasmania, practical and effective border restrictions for this pest are not available and the potential for effective inspection of imported host produce to mitigate entry is limited. As a result, industry awareness of this pest is important, as is the focus on effective management, such as employing Integrated Pest Management approaches used for leafminer pests already present in Tasmania. For further information refer to the following guide: Management of leafmining flies in vegetable and nursery crops in Australia.
BT have included SLM in this season’s plant pest surveillance activities and BT entomology staff are enhancing diagnostic capacity for this pest. Surveillance will consist of setting traps near susceptible host plants by participating members of the public and growers. Visit the Adopt-a-trap pest survey webpage for details on how to participate in this program. The next round of trapping within surveillance project will commence in February/March 2021.
To supplement surveillance, growers and members of the public are invited to submit plant material suspected to be infested with SLM. However, identification of infested leaf material will be complicated as similar leafminers are very common in Tasmania and an accurate diagnosis can only be made by rearing larvae through to the adult stage or by molecular testing.
Common leafminers in Tasmania include Liriomyza chenopodii (beet leafminer), Liriomyza brassicae (cabbage leafminer), Chromatomyia syngenesiae (cineraria leafminer) and Scaptomyza flava (turnip leafminer).
Due to the presence of these common leafminers in Tasmania, submission of leaf samples for suspected SLM should be prioritised to the following:
• Heavy leafminer infestations on commercially grown plants, particularly if the infested plants have not been infested previously.• Plants that are not commonly infested with the common Tasmanian leafminer species. A selection of SLM hosts that are not known to be infested with common Tasmanian leafminers includes Aster, artichoke, Bellis perennis (lawn daisy), beans, Calendula (pot marigold), carnation, celery, cucumber, coriander, gladiolus, pumpkin, squash, sunflower, Tagetes (marigold), Verbena, Viola and zucchini.
Visit the SLM webpage for instructions on how to submit a leaf sample.
BT will identify suspected SLM specimens at no cost.
(27/1/2021)Categories: Cropping; Horticulture; Invasive Species; Natural environment; Pasture; Plant diseases; Plant pests; Policy and Legislation; Seeds;
Tasmania is Queensland fruit fly free – please help us keep it that way!
Biosecurity Tasmania is asking all Tasmanians to be vigilant for anything unusual in fruit with the summer months being the peak times for fruit fly activity on mainland Australia, and a time of increased risk for Tasmania.
(18/1/2021)Categories: Cropping; Freshwater pests; Gene technology; Horticulture; Invasive Species; Livestock; Marine pests; Natural environment; Pasture; Plant diseases; Plant pests; Policy and Legislation; Seeds; Timber imports; Wildlife;
The Plant Biosecurity Manual Tasmania (PBMTas) outlines specific Tasmanian import requirements for given plants, plant products or other prescribed matter authorised by the Plant Quarantine Act 1997.
(6/1/2021)Categories: Cropping; Freshwater pests; Gene technology; Horticulture; Invasive Species; Livestock; Marine pests; Natural environment; Pasture; Plant diseases; Plant pests; Policy and Legislation; Seeds; Timber imports; Wildlife;
Biosecurity Tasmania wishes everyone a joyful Christmas and a happy and safe New Year.
(23/12/2020)Categories: Cropping; Freshwater pests; Gene technology; Horticulture; Invasive Species; Livestock; Marine pests; Natural environment; Pasture; Plant diseases; Plant pests; Policy and Legislation; Seeds; Timber imports; Wildlife;