Second vessel turned away from Australia due to risk of brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB)

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has directed a second vessel to leave Australian Territory, as a result of significant risks associated with brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB).

Following reports from the vessel operator that exotic insects had been found on board, the vessel was directed to remain at anchorage at a safe distance from Australia’s border. The vessel arrived at Fremantle port. No cargo was off-loaded and the vessel did not visit any other Australian ports. While it was anchored off-shore, biosecurity officers conducted an inspection and six different species of exotic insects, including BMSB, were detected.

The department considered these findings, along with the risk management plan submitted by the vessel operator, and concluded that the vessel posed an unacceptable risk for Australia. The vessel operator fully cooperated with the department throughout the process.

BMSB is a significant threat for Australia’s $12 billion horticulture industries, because of its wide host range and the damage it can do to grapevines, vegetable crops, and fruit and ornamental trees. BMSB are a threat to agricultural industries and the environment, feeding on over 300 different plant species. They are also a threat to public amenity and human health.

The department has managed a number of BMSB detections at the border this season and continues to review all detections and the risk pathways to adjust import measures as needed. This season the department has implemented stronger measures to manage increasing risks associated with this significant cargo pest.

“Thanks to our strict biosecurity conditions, Australia remains free from many pests and diseases that are present in other countries and have the potential to impact on our $60 billion agriculture industries, the environment, plant, animal and human health”, said the department’s media release.