State and Federal Efforts Made to Address Fruit Fly Infestations

It was a big week in the fight against invasive fruit flies at the state and federal levels. Earlier this week, Governor Newsom signed legislation providing $22.1 million to address fruit fly infestations across the state. This comes after Assemblymember Eloise Gomez Reyes of San Bernardino and a bipartisan group of legislators submitted a letter highlighting the significant need for funding to address the outbreak. A letter of support from Agricultural stakeholders, including CCM, was also submitted.

In addition to this funding, Assemblymember Reyes has authored AB 2827, which requires the state to detect and eradicate invasive species that negatively affect agriculture here in California. CCM Director of Governmental Affairs Jacob Villagomez testified in support of the bill last week to the Assembly Agriculture Committee.

CCM is deeply appreciative of Assemblymember Reyes for championing efforts to eradicate invasive pests in California. We also extend our gratitude to the Governor for allocating $22.1 million to combat the severe fruit fly outbreak.

Over 554 square miles have been quarantined in San Bernardino and Riverside County alone due to the impact of exotic fruit flies. These quarantines significantly impact the citrus growers within their boundaries and leave them with few to no options for marketing their fruit.

“With ongoing collaboration, we are confident in our collective ability to eradicate this pest and to implement the robust prevention strategies outlined in Assemblymember Reyes’s bill, AB 2827,” said CCM President/CEO Casey Creamer.

On the Federal front, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) released its “Fruit Fly Exclusion and Detection Program Fiscal Years 2024-2028 Strategy” this week. The five-year strategy prioritizes strengthening the following goals for fruit flies of regulatory significance:

  • Domestic surveillance to support early detection.
  • Management and emergency response to ensure timely mitigation.
  • Targeted and effective sterile insect technique for preventive release and eradication programs (assuring rearing facilities are maintained for efficiency and safety).
  • International and import efforts to mitigate against the introduction and spread of invasive fruit flies in the United States.

To address the unprecedented outbreaks of exotic fruit flies, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently released $103.5 million from the Commodity Credit Corporation to fund APHIS’ supplementary emergency response activities. These funds allow APHIS to reach beyond what the agency’s appropriated funding would be able to accomplish over the next few years.

 

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