Around 500 non-commercial boats/yachts and 19,000 commercial vessels arrive in Australia each year, and many of these have the potential to carry exotic pests and diseases.

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) said Australia has had a number of recent instances where yachts and vessels have arrived carrying materials that presented a biosecurity risk.

Just recently, biosecurity officers found a live gecko, an exotic ant, a spider and termites during an inspection of a yacht arriving into Darwin.

Meanwhile, an Asian gypsy moth’s egg mass was also recently discovered during a routine vessel inspection on a bulk carrier vessel arriving into Australia.

The moth’s caterpillars feed on the leaves of more than 600 species of trees, such as oak, birch, aspen, eucalyptus, holly, rose, fruit trees and ornamental plants.

The spread of exotic pests and diseases, like this moth and its larvae, could have devastating impacts on our agribusiness and horticultural industries.

Click here to read the DAWE media release.


[Image via: Department of Agriculture]