Due to the detection in Australia and New Zealand of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) on a number of vessels arriving from Asian ports, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (the department) is increasing the assessment and inspection of all ro‑ro vessels from Monday 26 February 2018. BMSB is a highly invasive insect and a voracious feeder that can severely damage about 300 fruit, vegetable and ornamental crops.
Ro-ro vessels may receive a BMSB questionnaire via MARS, as part of the pre-arrival reporting process, for the purpose of assessing the level of biosecurity risk associated with the vessel. Vessels that report the presence of BMSB may be asked to conduct further daily inspections to determine the extent of the infestation.
Vessels may be inspected by the department for the purpose of assessing the level of biosecurity risk associated with that vessel, in relation to BMSB. Following assessment the department may require treatment of the vessel at anchorage to manage an unacceptable level of biosecurity risk. Following assessment and any treatment of the vessel, any cargo unloaded may also be subject to further inspection and treatment.
The proactive management of this issue by vessels is essential to ensuring Australia remains free from BMSB. Early, accurate and complete reporting of the presence of BMSB is essential to improving the options to manage the pest on board. It will also assist with minimising delays to the vessel and the discharge of cargo.
This activity is expected to conclude at the end of the BMSB risk season on 30 April 2018.
Note that the Yellow Spotted Stinkbug has recently been discovered on board a vessel in New Zealand.
Delays are expected with this increased surveillance.