Oh fig: Quarantine

PARTS of Fremantle and East Fremantle have been put under quarantine following the detection of a single Queensland fruit fly.

The pesky Qfly presents a major risk to the state’s horticultural industry, so the state department of primary industries and regional development has banned residents from taking homegrown fruit and vegies out of the affected areas, including most of the city centre, White Gum Valley, East Fremantle and a small piece on North Fremantle up to Tydeman Road.

The department’s senior research officer Darryl Hardie says Qflies love munching on a range of fruit and some vegetables.

“It is vital for our horticultural industries and for people who wish to continue growing fruit and vegetables in their backyard, that we keep this pest out,” he says.

The quarantine presents quite a challenge to Fremantle’s well-established bartering community, but they’re already planning work-arounds.

On the popular Facebook group Available for Barter, Fremantle and Surrounds, there’s been suggestions for a “kitchen share” initiative so people outside the quarantine zone can cook and prepare fruits and veggies they’ve traded before taking them home, which is allowed.

• Beaconsfield resident Sabina Shugg and Fremantle MP Simone McGurk. Photo by Steve Grant

Page administrator George Wesley says he’s disappointed about the quarantine as his passionfruit are ripening and ready for bartering, but along with founder Zoe Barron says they’re encouraging members to abide by the rules.

“This group is technically only for people from North, South and East Fremantle, White Gum Valley, Beaconsfield, Hilton and Hamilton Hill, so hopefully barters will only be taking place within those boundaries anyway,” Ms Barron told the Herald.

Fremantle MP Simone McGurk says she believes locals will be responsible, shown by the number who’ve given department inspectors access to their back yards to check for any more Qfly.

Ms McGurk says that thankfully none of the follow-up inspections had found any more of the pest.

On Wednesday she helped Beaconsfield resident Sabina Shugg strip ripe fruit from her fig tree, as that’s one measure the department has suggested to keep the fly at bay, along with picking up fallen fruit.

Ms Shugg says her colleagues at work were saddened to be missing out on the daily bag of ripe figs she’s been bringing each day.

The department says unwanted fruit should be put in a heavy duty plastic bag in direct sunlight for three days before being thrown in the bin.

None should be put in composting bins.

The quarantine will be in effect until April 18, provided there are no further Queensland fruit fly detections.


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