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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 17/2018 - Soft-shell clam detected in south east Tasmania

The Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) is investigating the detection of the introduced soft-shell clam on a beach on the Prosser River at Orford in south east Tasmania. 

The clam is a large bivalve marine mollusc and genetic sequencing has confirmed it is Mya japonica. Soft-shell clams are native to the Northern Hemisphere, and this is the first detection of soft-shell clam in the Southern Hemisphere.  The response to this detection is being managed in accordance with the National System for the Prevention and Management of Marine Pest Incursions within nationally agreed protocols.

Soft-shell clams can grow up to 150 mm and typically live in sand, mud and gravel in shallow sub-tidal and intertidal zones. The clam exists beneath the sediment surface burying itself up to 50 cm deep. It uses long siphons, which pump water for respiration, feeding and spawning.

Considered an invasive species for their potential to outcompete native species for habitat, Mya japonica represents a potential marine pest risk to other areas of Tasmania and Australia through the spread of larvae on water currents.

Biosecurity Tasmania is currently investigating appropriate surveillance methods to understand the extent of the soft-shell clam incursion and possible response options, including if eradication is feasible or if control methods should be adopted. DPIPWE will pro-actively engage with all biosecurity and scientific groups, the seafood industry, the local councils and communities on this issue to determine the best future strategy.

It is very important that the clams are not collected or moved to other locations.​

Anyone finding what they suspect to be a soft-shell clam are encouraged to contact DPIPWE on telephone at 03 6165 3777 or email: invasivespecies@dpipwe.tas.gov.au

Images of the soft-shell clam can be found on the DPIPWE website at www.dpipwe.tas.gov.au/softshellclam

Supplying a photograph of the suspected soft-shell clam would assist in identification.

(19/6/2018)
Categories: Freshwater pests; Invasive Species; Marine pests; Natural environment; Policy and Legislation; Seeds; Wildlife;


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 12/2018 - Public comment invited on a proposal to import African painted dog into Tasmania

​Public comment is invited on a proposal to import the African Painted Dog into Tasmania. The Wildlife Management Branch received a resubmission of the African painted dog (Lycaon pictus) species profile for reconsideration to import into Tasmania.  The new version clarifies and provides additional information in relation to the species risk and status. Included is a letter of support from the Zoo and Aquarium Association, confirming how the proposed collaboration of holding a small group of non-breeding animals will benefit the Population Management Program for this endangered species.

 
Public comments are invited by 27 March 2018
  
Details of the risk assessment is available for viewing on the DPIPWE website at:   http://dpipwe.tas.gov.au/wildlife-management/management-of-wildlife/wildlife-imports/species-risk-assessments-for-comment​

(14/3/2018)
Categories: Invasive Species; Wildlife; Natural environment; Policy and Legislation; Livestock;


Biosecurity Advisory 16/2017 - Public comment invited on proposal to import Sumatran tiger into Tasmania

The Wildlife Management Branch received species profile to facilitate risk assessments for the potential import into Tasmania of;

 Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae)
 
Public comments are invited by 21 December 2017

The Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) is one of six sub-species of the Tiger (Panthera tigris), all of which are either endangered or critically endangered.  The Sumatran tiger is listed as critically endangered by the IUCN, and is managed in Australia and New Zealand through the Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA) Australasian Species Management Program (ASMP). The ZAA program provides the maximum possible support for the conservation of Sumatran tigers in the wild via:
  • An assurance population against extinction in the wild;
  • A potential source population for demographic and/or genetic supplementation in the event of severe decline in the wild;
  • As a source population for research that may benefit the conservation of wild tigers or improve our understanding of the species;
  • As a source population for training activities that may benefit the management of wild tigers (eg, capture techniques that can be applied to conflict tigers);
  • As a charismatic species for exhibition and education programs to increase awareness of human impacts on wildlife and inspire support of conservation activities and actions; and
  • As ambassadors for fund-raising efforts for in situ conservation projects that benefit wild tigers and their habitats.
Through the ZAA ASMP the Sumatran tiger may only be offered to wildlife parks and zoos within Australia and New Zealand that are full accredited ZAA members.

The Sumatran tiger is the smallest of all Tiger species and behaviorally, are generally solitary animals. 

The species profile provided has been submitted by a third party, which is predominately used to undertake the risk assessment. DPIPWE has accepted and published the information contained in the species profile in good faith but accepts no responsibility for its accuracy, nor does DPIPWE accept any responsibility associated with the publishing of this material including, but not limited to, liability associated with copyright.

Risk Assessment:

A risk assessment has been undertaken by specialist staff from the Department including, policy and wildlife officers, ecologists and veterinary officers from Biosecurity Tasmania. 
The risk assessment considers three main areas of risk:
  1. Public safety
  2. Establishment 
  3. Consequence

The risk to public safety is considered highly dangerous in the event that the species escaped captivity.

The likelihood of establishment is considered extremely low due to an inappropriate climate match.

The consequence of establishment is considered moderate because of the low climate match, and the species is not known to be a pest, would not harm property but could harm livestock.

Taking these factors into consideration, the risk assessment concluded that the risk posed by importing Sumatran tiger into Tasmania is serious. 

Mitigation:

Any decision to allow the import of Sumatran tiger into Tasmania would only be considered where:
  • The species is imported by a Wildlife Exhibition Licence holder that has appropriate facilities to securely house the species.
  • The wildlife exhibition facility can clearly demonstrate they have proficient keepers for that particular species.
Standard conditions associated with the import of a serious risk species include, but are not limited to:
  • Import and keeping is only permitted by facilities approved to keep the species under licence.
  • The wildlife facility must meet minimum standards for animal welfare, human safety and security.
  • The animal must not be released, or be allowed to escape from effective control.
  • Animal welfare requirements under the Animal Welfare Act 1993 and any approved Code of Practice or Management Plan must be met.
  • Individuals must be micro-chipped or otherwise identified.
  • The wildlife facility must be available for inspection at any reasonable time.
  • The maximum number of individuals of a species held at the wildlife facility is to be stipulated on the licence, taking into account relevant factors.  Gender may also be stipulated.  
  • Written approval must be sought prior to movement of animals between wildlife facilities and trade of the species under licence.
  • Record keeping and reporting must be provided to DPIPWE as required by DPIPWE. 
  • Collections containing species subject to approval by DPIPWE must accord with the relevant code of practice for keeping that species.

Provided these mitigation measures are in place and continually complied with, the level of risk to Tasmania of holding the Sumatran tiger within a wildlife facility is considered reduced.

Right to Information Act 2009 and confidentiality: 
Please note that submissions will be treated as public documents. By law, information provided to the Government may be provided to an applicant under the provisions of the Right to Information Act 2009

When making your submission, please detail any reasons why you consider the information that you have provided is confidential or should not be publicly released. Your reasons will be taken into account in determining whether or not to release the information.

(11/12/2017)
Categories: Cropping; Freshwater pests; Gene technology; Horticulture; Invasive Species; Livestock; Marine pests; Natural environment; Pasture; Policy and Legislation; Seeds; Timber imports; Wildlife;

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