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Indonesian fishing boats pose quarantine risk

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PIE91/80GQ 21 March 1991


Many of the Indonesian fishing boats being apprehended off northern Australia pose a potential risk, the Federal Minister for Resources, Mr Alan Griffiths, said today.

"Since last Saturday (16/3/91) 26 vessels have been apprehended within the Australian Fishing Zone, and are now moored in Darwin Harbour," the Minister said.

"Quarantine officers initially cleared.the vessels' crews for any human communicable diseases on arrival in Darwin, and have since been closely examining the vessels for any exotic disease vectors or plant or animal pests or diseases.

"After having so far examined half the vessels, quarantine officers have found larvae of the mosquito Aedes aeavpti in water on board three of them.

"Some other exotic pests, including infestations of dry wood termites have also been found."

Aedes aegypti is a carrier of the human diseases dengue fever and yellow fever, and a potential vector of Ross River fever and Murray Valley encephalitis.

A native of Africa, it has become widespread throughout the world's tropical and subtropical areas.

The mosquito is endemic to some parts of Queensland, but has so far been kept out of the Northern Territory where breeding conditions for it are considered ideal.

Mr Griffiths said the apprehension and processing of the crews of the fishing vessels had been a very effective joint exercise involving the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Customs Service, Immigration, the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service, the Australian Fisheries Service and the Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries.

Further information: Dennis Ayliffe 06 277 7480

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