RIFA Update

Fremantle community called on to support response against red imported fire ant

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development is calling on residents and businesses in the Fremantle area to support efforts to stamp out an exotic invasive ant.

Red imported fire ant (RIFA) (Solenopsis invicta) was found at two adjoining commercial properties within Fremantle port following routine surveillance.

Department Biosecurity Executive Director Katherine Clift said department officers had moved quickly to treat the infestation and destroy the ants.“To support response efforts and prevent any potential spread of the pest, a Quarantine Area Notice has been put in place for parts of Fremantle, restricting the movement of a range of host materials including soil, potted plants, mulch, hay, manure and turf outside of this area,” Dr Clift said.

“These restrictions also apply to machinery or equipment used in digging or earthmoving.

“Community support is vital to the success of this response program.

“We encourage residents and businesses in Fremantle to familiarise themselves with the Quarantine Area and movement restrictions.”

The Quarantine Area runs from Port Beach, as far south as South Fremantle Dog Beach and east to East Street.

RIFA is a significant invasive species which can impact on agriculture, the environment, the economy and social amenity.

Dr Clift said department officers were continuing surveillance for the pest, and encouraged local businesses and residents to also remain vigilant for the pest.

The Quarantine Area Notice takes effect from 5 December. More information on RIFA and the Quarantine Area, including maps, is available from the department website www.agric.wa.gov.au