Biosecurity has helped ensure Australia remains free of one of the world’sworst invasive pests, with a number of Giant African Snail interceptions madeat the border last year.
Australian Chief Plant Protection Officer, Dr Gabrielle Vivian-Smith, said theGiant African Snail is one of Australia’s priority plant pests, given thedamaging impact it could have.
“If this huge snail was to establish here it could be a risk to more than 500plant species—ranging from fruit and vegetables, to ornamental and nativeplants,” Dr Vivian-Smith said.
“It is a significant threat to many of our valuable industries, ourenvironment and even human health, as they can carry pathogenic bacteria andparasites.
“Last year, there were 28 Giant African Snail interceptions at our borders,and we have seen ongoing interceptions this year, so it does pose a real riskfor us.
“The interceptions were made in a variety of imported cargo and at differentlocations across the country at the border.
“This pest is damaging to plants and impacting on farmers and naturalecosystems in many countries overseas and they are difficult to eradicate, soit is important we keep it out.
“Unlike smaller hitchhiker pests, the Giant African Snail is a bit easier todetect, given they are six times larger than the common garden snail and theirshells can be up to 20cm long.
“This does not mean the task of keeping it out is any easier. It is a big job,and it will only get harder as the volume of cargo arriving in Australiacontinues to increase.
“Our biosecurity system includes import conditions and measures at the borderto manage the risks, but importers, farmers and even members of the publichave a role to play.
“Make sure you follow our conditions when importing cargo to Australia andkeep an eye out and report and potential biosecurity pests, like Giant Africansnails.”
For more information on the Giant African Snail visit awe.gov.au/giant-african-snail.
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