Prickly pest now 'marked' in Western Australia

Found in: News

  • 27 species of opuntioid cacti added to WA’s declared pest list

Cacti which pose a threat to agricultural land and the environment have been added to a list of ‘marked’ pest plants in Western Australia.

Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston said the declared cacti species were the first new additions to the declared plant list under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007.

“Most of these cacti are listed as Weeds of National Significance,” Mr Baston said.

“These infestations pose a serious risk to agricultural production in the State, especially in the southern rangelands which are more susceptible to cacti establishing and spreading.”

The declaration means the listed cacti are restricted from being traded or brought into WA. Those with declared cacti species on their property or in their gardens are required to control the pest.

Forming impenetrable thickets if left unmanaged or with long spines, cacti can be harmful to livestock and native fauna.

Declaration of a species allows Recognised Biosecurity Groups to use matched funding to develop a co-ordinated approach for declared pest management in a particular regional area.

“The Western Australian community, landholders and Government are working together to stop the introduction and spread of pest plants,” the Minister said.

“An excellent example of this collaborative work is in the Pilbara, where the Department of Agriculture and Food, Rangelands NRM and Pilbara Mesquite Management Committee are working together to tackle the cacti under a national Biodiversity Fund program.”

Work included a survey of 16 Pilbara towns, and removal of 125 separate occurrences of cacti in gardens and pots totalling an estimated 15 tonnes. The project has also identified and sprayed cacti populations on five pastoral stations and a nature reserve.

Mr Baston said a new weed surveillance program in the South-West had shortlisted wheel cactus (Opuntia robusta) among priority weeds for the area.

Silverleaf nightshade, a weed which can impact cereal crop yields, has also been added to the declared pest list.

Source: Government of Western Australia

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