Draft risk analysis for the release of Venturia paralias for the biological control of Euphorbia paralias

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We are conducting a risk analysis for the proposed release of the fungus Venturia paralias into Australia. The purpose of this release is to control sea spurge (Euphorbia paralias), an invasive environmental weed in coastal environments.

The use of exotic biological control agents to control invertebrate pests, weeds and other organisms has been common in Australia for many years. Releasing pathogenic, herbivorous, predatory or parasitic organisms into the Australian environment can have potential “off-target” risks. This means risk to other plants or invertebrate animals not targeted by the biological control agent.

We began this risk analysis in response to an application to release Venturia paralias to control Euphorbia paralias. The application was submitted by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment will not commence an assessment to release a biological control agent unless the target pest species has been approved by an appropriate government body. Euphorbia paralias was approved as a target for biological control by the Australian Weeds Committee on 31 August 2010.

On 6 August 2020, we released a draft report, which:

  • estimates off-target risks and potential consequences of the release
  • evaluates the risk to be Negligible, which achieves Australia’s appropriate level of protection (ALOP)
  • proposes the release of the biological control agent Venturia paralias.

Stakeholders were invited to provide comments on the draft report.

The consultation period closed on 7 September 2020.

We will consider all comments before preparing the final report.

We are conducting a risk analysis for the proposed release of the fungus Venturia paralias into Australia. The purpose of this release is to control sea spurge (Euphorbia paralias), an invasive environmental weed in coastal environments.

The use of exotic biological control agents to control invertebrate pests, weeds and other organisms has been common in Australia for many years. Releasing pathogenic, herbivorous, predatory or parasitic organisms into the Australian environment can have potential “off-target” risks. This means risk to other plants or invertebrate animals not targeted by the biological control agent.

We began this risk analysis in response to an application to release Venturia paralias to control Euphorbia paralias. The application was submitted by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment will not commence an assessment to release a biological control agent unless the target pest species has been approved by an appropriate government body. Euphorbia paralias was approved as a target for biological control by the Australian Weeds Committee on 31 August 2010.

On 6 August 2020, we released a draft report, which:

  • estimates off-target risks and potential consequences of the release
  • evaluates the risk to be Negligible, which achieves Australia’s appropriate level of protection (ALOP)
  • proposes the release of the biological control agent Venturia paralias.

Stakeholders were invited to provide comments on the draft report.

The consultation period closed on 7 September 2020.

We will consider all comments before preparing the final report.