Wickepin gardener John Mearns has called on the Shire of Narrogin to re-establish a local fruit fly program after finding fruit from the town riddled with maggots. The Wickepin retiree is a passionate gardener who wants to see a fruit fly program introduced in his neighbouring shire. “I want to see the Narrogin Shire revisit and decide on behalf of the community whether or not a fruit fly program can be addressed,” he said. “I am raising this issue as a property owner, because in Wickepin we get given bait traps and as a result we have no fruit fly in the town. “My wife and I also have a house in Gosnells where they not only give out these traps but take addresses, check up and give you a new one when needed.” The Shire of Narrogin last addressed fruit control in 2013 after concerns were raised by Gnarojin Community Garden. The then-Town of Narrogin had previously been one of only two local government areas where a fruit fly program was being undertaken, along with the Shire of Carnarvon, which has a significant fruit industry. Shire of Narrogin chief executive Dale Stewart said fruit flies were a concern for individual property owners with fruit trees. “The Shire attempted to do something about fruit fly in 2013 and we really needed the support of residents and ratepayers to which we didn’t get,” he said. The Mediterranean fruit fly is recognised as a serious horticultural pest in WA infecting more than 200 fruit and vegetable species across the State. Under the WA Plant Diseases Act 1914, it is the responsibility of all landowners to take steps to prevent the spread of pests and diseases, including fruit fly. Mr Stewart said responsibility for enforcing the Act rested with the Department of Agriculture and Food WA. “From the Shire’s perspective, we do nothing. The individual property owners have an obligation to manage fruit fly on properties,” he said. Mr Mearns said he was concerned Narrogin was “riddled” with the pest. But Mr Stewart said the Shire had no record of any recent complaints. “We would need to see if there’s interest from the community about a baiting program, but at this point in time there have been no concerns or complaints,” he said.