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New Moth Find a Disaster

For Immediate Release - January 20th 2004

New Moth Find a Disaster Synthetic pheromone should be deployed immediately

A Community representative involved in the West Auckland campaign to eradicate the Painted Apple Moth is demanding that the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) immediately deploy a recently developed synthetic pheromone in the Mr Eden area of Auckland City - site of a lone moth catch on January 16th.

Hana Blackmore, member of CC-PAM and the PAM Community Advisory Group, said the new pheromone, developed by independent scientist Dr John Clearwater and his international team, be fast-tracked through any regulatory hurdles so that it can be in use as soon as possible.

"Dr Clearwater's pheromone has recently been tested in the field in Australia and has been shown to be extremely effective, with male moths showing up as soon as the vials were opened," said Hana. "I understand that an exquisite tool like this can be used to track and even 'mop-up' all male moths in an infested area. Absolutely vital in a possible new outbreak like this."

Dr Clearwater said today that the product has shown extremely high potency in field trials in Australia and could be deployed within ten days of the go-ahead from MAF. (MAF currently use captive female moths in the traps).

Hana said that she also understood from Dr Clearwater that this information on the pheromone development had been with the Government and MAF officials since before Christmas, and was questioning why no action had been taken to urgently follow this up.

"MAF have been very quick to exempt themselves once again from RMA requirements so that they can aerial spray Mt Eden, Papatoetoe or even Rangitoto Island if they want to, but damned slow to even consider alternative tools that have no impact on people".

"Like everyone else, I had dared to hope that this particular pest campaign was over and done with. Quite frankly, if after five years of infestation and two years of aggressive aerial spraying this moth is STILL expanding its zone, then MAF's methods have obviously failed and it's time to re-evaluate where they are going."


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