Medfly is a serious pest for cultivated fruits and some vegetables
Eradication will reduce grower costs and increase market access
Carnarvon's horticulture industries are worth $80 million a year
The future for Carnarvon's horticultural industry looks bright, with the State Government providing access to more land and water, and treatment for eradicating Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly).
Opening Carnarvon's sterile Medfly emergence facility, Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston said land available for horticulture in the Gascoyne was likely to increase in the next five years and eliminating the damage caused by the pest fly was crucial for the industry to expand and access new markets.
"New technologies can reduce fruit fly numbers below damaging levels and we can once again take steps to eradicate Medfly from the Carnarvon horticultural precinct," Mr Baston said.
"This project is a good example of successful collaboration between government, industry and the local community."
The Department of Agriculture and Food's sterile insect program will use an improved strain of male Medflies. They will be bred and sterilised at the department's South Perth laboratories and transported as pupae to Carnarvon, where they will be housed until they emerge as adults.
The sterile male flies will be released to identified sites by an automated machine. Large-scale release of the flies will overwhelm the wild male population, outcompeting to mate with wild females and producing infertile eggs.
The project is part of the department's $4.2 million 'Piloting new techniques to control and eradicate Mediterranean fruit fly' project, made possible by the State Government's Royalties for Regions Boosting Biosecurity Defences project, Horticulture Innovation Australia, the Shire of Carnarvon and the Carnarvon Growers' Association.
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said Royalties for Regions was investing in strategic biosecurity initiatives to generate greater returns to regional Western Australia.
"Improved Medfly control in Carnarvon will reduce the impact to our export markets and increase regional WA's economic stability," Mr Redman said.
"This innovative approach will help protect our State's livestock and crops, making a significant difference to agricultural communities."
Weekly Medfly releases will start mid-year. They will be supported by a local biosecurity group and project staff working with industry and the community to reduce breeding sites and monitor the success of the program through fruit fly trapping.
Agriculture and Food Minister's office - 6552 5400
Regional Development Minister's office - 6552 6700