South Australia’s fruit fly defences will be strengthened in the coming months with a detector dog patrolling Adelaide Airport to sniff out any fruit coming in from interstate.
Andy, a pure-bred beagle, will monitor domestic passengers’ hand luggage and suitcases at the airport’s airbridge or arrival carousel area – helping to protect South Australia’s enviable fruit fly free status.
Andy is trained to sit in the presence of a target odour (in this case fresh fruit) and is then rewarded with a treat from his Department of Agriculture and Water Resources handler when they find any biosecurity risk material.
The Adelaide-based passive response detector dog is the newest recruit in a joint State and Federal Government operation, in partnership with Adelaide Airport, aimed at increasing surveillance and controlling the entry of fresh fruit and vegetables on incoming domestic flights.
Every year the State Government spends $5 million keeping fruit fly and other plant pests out of the state, through a range of prevention, detection and eradication measures managed by Biosecurity SA, a division of the Department of Primary Industries and Regions SA.
South Australia is the only mainland state in Australia to be fruit fly free. Uncertified fresh fruit and fruiting vegetables cannot be carried from interstate into South Australia.
Fruit fly is recognised as the world’s worst horticultural pest, lowering production and making fruit inedible. Their presence also has severe consequences on trade to sensitive markets, both locally and internationally.
The detector dog service complements existing controls already in place at Adelaide Airport and on inbound domestic services, including on-board announcements, display material and quarantine bins. This is part of a broader suite of measures aimed at protecting South Australia against fruit fly.
In 2015–16, the estimated farm-gate value of the state’s horticultural produce vulnerable to fruit fly infestation was $1.15 billion. For further information, visit www.pir.sa.gov.au/fruitfly
Quotes attributable to Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Minister Leon Bignell
South Australia has worked hard to gain fruit fly freedom status, which underpins our thriving horticulture industry and helps to secure lucrative export markets for our growers.
Maintaining our fruit fly freedom status protects the commercial production of fruit, vegetables, wine grapes and almonds in South Australia, particularly in the Riverland and Murraylands.
The joint State and Federal Government detector dog program is an important part of our frontline defence against fruit fly at Adelaide Airport.
The detector dog - together with random road blocks, permanent quarantine stations, trapping surveillance and cutting edge sterile insect technology – help to ensure we stop fruit fly at every possible entry point into the state.
As the weather warms up, and the fruit fly risk increases, please do the right thing and don’t bring any fresh fruit into our State. Eat it, bin it or leave it at home.
Quotes attributable to Citrus Australia SA Region, Mark Doecke
You can’t underestimate how valuable the fruit fly free status is to the Riverland and other premium food producing regions across the state.
Every step taken towards safeguarding our precious crops from fruit fly, such as the airport detector dog, is vital.
Quotes attributable to Mark Young, Managing Director, Adelaide Airport
Adelaide Airport is a critical gateway to our beautiful state. So it’s particularly important to have the strongest biosecurity measures in place as people arrive here.
Over the past decade, more than half a tonne of biosecurity risk items have been seized through the incredible work of detector dogs, like Andy.