Good news in search for black sigatoka in Torres Strait

News release | 22-Jan-2024

A major community effort to search for signs of black Sigatoka has found no sign of the banana disease on several Torres Strait islands.

Biosecurity Queensland Senior project officer Michael Zitha said Biosecurity Queensland, in collaboration with the Torres Shire Council and Kaurareg Land and Sea Rangers had successfully concluded a comprehensive survey of Thursday Island and the other inner Islands in September 2023 to assess the presence of black Sigatoka.

The survey covered Muralug, Ngurupai, and  Waibene , with the aim of identifying any instances of black Sigatoka infestation.

The survey also included an evaluation of banana varieties for their resistance or susceptibility to the disease.

Mr Zitha praised the collective effort across the community and highlighted the importance of proactive measures in safeguarding Queensland's agricultural resources.

"This outcome is a testament to the coordinated efforts of the community and our partnering agencies,” he said.

“The information gathered during this initiative is crucial for implementing effective biosecurity measures and protecting our valuable banana crops."

Black Sigatoka, a leaf spot disease affecting bananas, can lead to substantial leaf damage and fruit loss. It is crucial to monitor and manage its potential spread to safeguard banana crops. It is important to note that black Sigatoka is not harmful to humans.

During the survey period, 2413 banana plants were inspected.

A total of 181 sites were examined with 17 banana samples collected and tested, all returning negative results for the disease.

The ongoing collaboration with Torres Shire Council, Kaurarag Land and Sea Rangers, Australian Border Force and the Far Northern Biosecurity Initiative played a vital role in the successful execution of the survey.

Biosecurity Queensland encourages Queenslanders to report any suspected black Sigatoka on their bananas.

If you suspect an infestation, contact Biosecurity Queensland at 13 25 23 or reach out to your local Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries contact.


Media contact: DAF Media,