Current Biosecurity Threats

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​In Tasmania​​

Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS)

Biosecurity Tasmania laboratories has confirmed the presence of Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS) in a number locations around Tasmania.


More information on the current situation with Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS)

See also:

​POMS Update as at 18 March 2016 

A greater range of movements of oysters onto oyster farms is now allowed in Tasmania as the result of a detailed testing regime.

Since the end of January this year, Biosecurity Tasmania and the Tasmanian oyster industry have been responding to an outbreak of Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome, also known as POMS. 

This response has included restrictions on the movement of oysters onto oyster farms while a structured testing program has been underway to determine where the virus is present in the State. This testing program has been completed and it is now possible to assess oyster movements that can occur between farms without spreading the virus.

Based on the information from the POMS testing program three (3) areas of differing disease risk have been determined as a basis for issuing movement permits. These areas are:

  • POMS free area across the north of Tasmania;
  • intermediate risk areas where there is little or no evidence of disease, but a risk of introduction of the disease; and
  • an infected area where POMS is known to occur.​
 Find more information on this latest update and a complete listing of Tasmanian disease risk sites sites according to their identified risk status.​


Any unexplained and significant mortality of oysters (greater than 5 per cent) should be reported to:

Biosecurity Tasmania

Phone Office Hours: 03 6165 3085

Phone After Hours: 1800 675 888


​​>> See previous situation reports, and further information on POMS


Myrtle rust


The bright yellow pustules indicate the presence of myrtle rust. Photo: DPIPWE - Biosecurity Tasmania

The plant disease pathogen myrtle rust (Puccinia psidii) was diagnosed from a sample taken from a private residential property near Burnie on Tasmania's north-west coast on 19 February 2015.

This fungus is regarded as a serious threat and consequently Biosecurity Tasmania has led a response with the aim of eradicating the disease from the state.​



Myrtle Rust Update as at 8 April 2016

Home gardeners and property owners are reminded to be on the lookout for signs of the fungal disease Myrtle Rust.

Continuing surveillance by DPIPWE has detected 51 cases since early February in private gardens in North and North-West Tasmania. All detections this season have been on Lophomyrtus plant varieties, those diseased plants have been removed and destroyed.  To date a little over 1400 properies have been inspected around Tasmania.

No evidence of the disease has been found in the wild at this stage, however the latest detections in home gardens highlight the need for continued community vigilance, particularly during warm weather and humid conditions which create an ideal environment for Myrtle Rust.

Tell-tales signs of the disease include bright yellow powdery patches on soft growing tips,  leaves and stems of Myrtaceae species such as Lophomyrtus cultivars “Black Stallion”, “Red Dragon” and willow myrtles, Chilean guava and native tea trees, paperbarks and bottle brushes.

Biosecurity Tasmania is working closely with nurseries to ensure signs of the disease are reported immediately. Measures are in place to stop the spread of Myrtle Rust between nurseries.

There are no human health risks associated with Myrtle Rust.

DPIPWE encourages anyone who thinks they may have Lophomyrtus plants in their garden to call the hotline number so an inspection can be arranged. If you see what you think might be Myrtle Rust, please take a photograph, record the location and details of the suspected plant and contact the Myrtle Rust Hotline (03) 6165 3785

​​>> See previous updates and further information on Myrtle Rust

​On the mainland

New outbreaks or spread of existing pests or diseases on the mainland can increase the threat of such pests or diseases getting into Tasmania.  In some cases, new or enhanced import regulations are necessary to help mitigate any such increased threat to Tasmania.

Giant pine scale

Giant pine scale (Marchealina hellenica) was found in Melbourne and Adelaide. This is the first record of this insect in Australa.

To date it has not been found in Tasmania.
The Giant pine scale insect lives by sucking the sap of pine, fir and spruce trees. 
The Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries website has detailed information about this insect:​
If you see anything that you think looks like this pest anywhere in Tasmania please report it to the Exotic Plant Disease Hotline1800 084 881

Giant pine scale Figure 1. Giant pine scale on the lower trunk and branches of a pine tree.
Copyright: Department of Primary Industries Victoria





Figure 2. Giant pine scale adult, showing its white wax secretion.
Copyright: Andrea Battisti, Universita di Padova, (via Department of Primary Industries Victoria)​.


Green Snail

As a response to the detection of Green snail (a List A pest) in Victoria in September 2011, Tasmania imposed restrictions on the importation of cut flowers, leafy vegetables, cuttings, nursery stock, hay and straw from areas near the Victorian properties affected.


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