26 September 2023

DPIRD to take sting out of fire ants

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The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) has announced a significant development in the campaign to eradicate the invasive pest, red imported fire ant (RIFA).

In a statement, the DPIRD said it was now able to lift the Quarantine Area Notice for Fremantle, which had been in place since December 2019 when RIFA was detected during surveillance undertaken as part of the National Browsing Ant Eradication Program.

The Department said that, in December 2020, the Quarantine Area boundary changed to exclude residents and businesses outside the Fremantle Port precinct.

It said six rounds of treatment and surveillance with no further positive detection of RIFA meant the State was on the road to being able to declare ‘Area Freedom’ in early 2022.

“The lifting of the Quarantine Area means that occupants no longer require a movement permit for materials including potted plants, plant mulch, bark and wood chips, hay and straw, manure, soil, grass or other organic matter,” the Department said.

Minister for Agriculture and Food, Alannah MacTiernan said the efforts of the Department and the support of Fremantle residents and Fremantle Ports had been crucial to the success of the eradication program.

“This is a fantastic result to be well on the way to successfully eradicating another invasive pest, protecting our agricultural industries and our community,” Ms MacTiernan said.

“With the volume of freight coming into WA continuing to increase, surveillance at ports is vital to early detection of invasive pests, which can hitchhike in shipping containers, furniture and other cargo into the State,” she said.

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