New Zealand EPA denies biocontrol release
The New Zealand Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has turned down a request from an industry body representing tomato growers to import and release a biological control agent to combat greenhouse whiteflies (Trialeurodes vaporariorum). Tomatoes New Zealand applied to release the predatory mirid, Macrolophus pygmaeus, late last year (Agrow No 678, p 23). The EPA considers that benefits to human health and the economy from such a release do not outweigh risks to the environment. It acknowledges that the whitefly is a significant problem for the tomato industry, which would benefit from additional tools to control it. However, the EPA considers that the risk of the mirid establishing itself outside greenhouses and feeding on non-target invertebrates outweighs the benefits.