RMD-19-04: Revision of the geographic boundaries of the regulated areas for the blueberry maggot Rhagoletis mendax Curran in the province of Quebec.
As described by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), Pest Risk Analysis (PRA) includes two stages: initiation, pest risk assessment and pest risk management. Initiating the PRA process involves identifying pests and pathways of concern and defining the PRA area. Pest risk assessment provides the scientific basis for the overall management of risk. Pest risk management is the process of identifying and evaluating potential mitigation measures which may be applied to reduce the identified pest risk to acceptable levels and selecting appropriate measures.
This Risk Management Document (RMD) includes a summary of the findings of a pest risk assessment and records the pest risk management process for the identified issue. It is consistent with the principles, terminology and guidelines provided in the IPPC standards for pest risk analysis.
Table of contents
- 1.0 Summary
- 2.0 Purpose
- 3.0 Scope
- 4.0 Definitions, abbreviations and acronyms
- 5.0 Background
- 6.0 Blueberry production and blueberry maggot status in Quebec
- 7.0 Pest risk assessment information
- 8.0 Pest risk management options for Quebec
- 8.1 Pest risk management option 1: Regulate the entire province of Quebec
- 8.2 Pest risk management option 2: Add the MRC Maria-Chapdelaine to the list of regulated MRCs
- 8.3 Pest risk management option 3: Add the MRCs which are part of the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean administrative region to the list of regulated MRCs
- 9.0 Consultation
- 10.0 Pest risk management decision
- 11.0 References
- 12.0 Endorsement
Rhagoletis mendax, blueberry maggot (BBM), is a regulated pest for Canada and the movement of blueberry fruit, blueberry plants and used blueberry fruit containers is regulated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) under Schedule II of the Plant Protection Regulations. The purpose of these regulations is to mitigate the human-assisted spread of BBM from areas in Canada where the pest is established into areas where it does not occur.
The boundaries of the BBM regulated area in Quebec were amended in 2012 in order to recognize the change in the distribution of this pest in the province.
More recently, in 2018, blueberry maggot was detected farther north, in a non-regulated area in the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region of Quebec, in a blueberry field located in the MRC Maria-Chapdelaine. In 2019, blueberry maggot was once again detected in this blueberry field as well as in several other blueberry fields distributed inside the MRC Maria-Chapdelaine.
This risk management document (RMD) examines various options for revising the geographic boundaries of the regulated areas for BBM in the province of Quebec to reflect BBM distribution in the province. The regulated area will need to be expanded to include the MRC Maria-Chapdelaine as there have been several detections of blueberry maggot within the MRC. However, two additional regulatory options are also presented in this document which could facilitate the movement of regulated articles at the local level (Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean administrative region) or provincial level (Quebec-wide). The CFIA does not plan to change the regulatory status of this pest in Canada, or to change the requirements for the movement of regulated articles from BBM regulated areas to non-regulated areas of Canada. There is also no intent to change the current status of the geographic boundaries of the regulated areas for BBM in provinces other than Quebec. British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador remain pest-free areas, based on CFIA surveys, and the Prairie Provinces and Territories are also considered non-regulated areas. These regions are not impacted by this RMD.
The purpose of this RMD is to communicate the CFIA's decision developed for modifying the geographic boundaries of the regulated areas for BBM in Quebec. The CFIA consulted with Canadian stakeholders to identify the option with stakeholder support. Comments from the stakeholder consultation were used to make a decision with respect to revising the regulated areas in Quebec, as described in policy directive D-02-04: The Blueberry Certification Program and domestic phytosanitary requirements to prevent the spread of blueberry maggot (Rhagoletis mendax) within Canada.
This RMD provides scientific information on the biology and distribution of BBM in Canada and describes the current status of BBM in Quebec. It also describes the phytosanitary measures that are in place in Canada to mitigate the human-assisted spread of this pest to new areas. This RMD examines various options for rationalizing the geographic boundaries of the regulated areas for BBM in the province of Quebec to reflect that BBM is established in some areas of the province, and explains the chosen option.
4.0 Definitions, abbreviations and acronyms
Definitions for terms used in this document can be found in the Plant Health Glossary of Terms.
Rhagoletis mendax Curran, blueberry maggot (BBM) was first reported in the Maritimes in the 1930s. Although this insect is native to northeastern North America it does not occur throughout the continent and it is considered to have a limited distribution within Canada. Prior to 1993, when this pest was detected for the first time in southern Ontario, BBM was believed to be restricted to Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. In 1996, BBM was also detected in southern Quebec. This pest has still not been reported from the prairie provinces or territories, and annual CFIA surveys confirm that BBM is not present in Newfoundland and Labrador, or in British Columbia.
BBM is a regulated pest for Canada and the movement of blueberry fruit, blueberry plants and used blueberry fruit containers is regulated by the CFIA under Schedule II of the Plant Protection Regulations. The purpose of these regulations is to mitigate the human-assisted spread of BBM from areas in Canada where the pest is established into areas where it does not occur.
CFIA considers those regions where BBM has been detected to be "regulated areas" and regions where BBM has not been detected to be "non-regulated" areas (Figure 1). Facilities and farms that are located in any regulated area in Canada or in the United States must meet the requirements of CFIA directive D-02-04 in order to move blueberry fruit, or other regulated articles, to non-regulated areas of Canada. D-02-04 also includes an option for blueberry farms to participate in the Blueberry Certification Program (BCP). Many commercial blueberry operations elect to participate in the BCP in order to facilitate the movement of blueberry fruit from regulated to non-regulated areas.
6.0 Blueberry production and blueberry maggot status in Quebec
Production of highbush blueberry, Vaccinium corymbosum, is mainly located on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River.
Highbush blueberry is a major commercial species in blueberry plantations and is native in western and central Quebec but extends only as far as Quebec City (Marie-Victorin 1935; Vander Kloet 1988). These highbush blueberry plants are not native to the Lac St-Jean region (Lavoie 1968; Rousseau 1974).
Lowbush blueberry production is mainly located in the Lac St-Jean region with the majority of the production destined for processing. Lowbush blueberry plants are mainly located on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River. The early lowbush blueberry, Vaccinium angustifolium; velvet-leaved blueberry, Vaccinium myrtilloides; and black huckleberry, Gaylussacia baccata are native to the Lac St-Jean region. The early lowbush blueberry, and to a lesser extent the velvet-leaved blueberry, predominate in the blueberry fields around Lac St-Jean. Other Vaccinium species in the Lac St-Jean region include Vaccinium caespitosum, V. ovalifolium, V. oxycoccus, V. uliginosum var. alpinum, and V. vitis-idaea var. minus.
The CFIA uses yellow sticky traps baited with ammonium acetate for its annual BBM surveys across Canada. The data from trapping in Quebec clearly demonstrates that BBM is present at several locations in southern Quebec and has continued to spread since it was first discovered in 1996. In 2018, the CFIA survey in the area that was free from blueberry maggot determined that a blueberry field in the MRC Maria-Chapdelaine was infested with BBM. In 2019, the CFIA increased the number of traps within the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean administrative region to verify the extent of distribution of blueberry maggot. The 2019 survey determined that the insect is widespread in the MRC Maria-Chapdelaine.
As per directive D-02-04, regulated growers and growers located within regulated MRCs are required to participate in the BCP in order to ship fresh blueberries to non-regulated areas. In addition, other regulated articles must be certified free from BBM in order to be moved from regulated to non-regulated areas.
7.0 Pest risk assessment information
English common names of Rhagoletis mendax Curran include: blueberry maggot (BBM) blueberry maggot fly, and, historically, apple maggot of blueberries (prior to 1932).
Rhagoletis mendax is native to eastern North America.
The primary host of BBM is blueberry, both highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum) and lowbush (V. angustifolium, and V. myrtilloides). Other suitable hosts include all other blueberry species, Vaccinium spp. except V. macrocarpon and V. oxycoccos, as well as all huckleberry species, Gaylussacia spp.
BBM is present in Canada in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and in southern parts of Quebec and Ontario. Pest-free areas in Canada, based on annual surveys, include the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, and British Columbia. BBM is also widespread in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains.
Likelihood of introduction to new areas
BBM may be introduced to new areas via host fruit, host plants with roots, soil, and used containers that are moved from infested areas. The CFIA considers the risk of human-assisted spread of BBM into new areas to be high.
Natural spread potential
Natural dispersal is considered to be a low risk. It is limited because the adults are weak flyers and tend to stay mostly in the vicinity of the host plant(s) and near the ground. Also, BBM adults tend to form stable populations in the same locale in successive years and seldom take flight for more than a few inches from leaf to leaf or from one plant to another. Dispersive flights have been observed in other Rhagoletis species deprived of suitable fruits for oviposition. Such flights have been inferred for BBM from higher fly captures in lowbush blueberry crop fields adjacent to vegetative fields that were recently pruned, but the distances involved were less than 300 metres. On present evidence, no Rhagoletis species has been reported to make dispersal flights that would be more than local in scope.
The establishment potential for BBM is considered to be high because this insect is sufficiently cold tolerant that it could survive in most areas of Canada where there are wild or cultivated blueberries.
Potential economic impact
BBM is a serious pest in eastern North America. The direct impacts of BBM on fresh fruit include yield and quality reduction as a result of larval feeding within the fruit. Producers also experience increased costs related to pest control. Indirect effects include those costs associated with exporting fresh blueberries to the U.S. and other countries that require products to be certified free from BBM. Frozen or further processed blueberries do not need to be certified free from BBM and can be shipped to non-regulated areas of Canada or exported to most countries without any phytosanitary requirements. The overall economic impact associated with BBM is rated medium to account for reductions in berry production and quality of fresh product, and for additional costs that may be incurred for monitoring, control, post-harvest handling and export certification.
Although the marketability of fresh fruit may be reduced, the marketability of fruit for processing is not affected by BBM and the impact of this pest in areas that produce fruit exclusively for processing is considered negligible. For instance, in lowbush-producing areas of the Maritime provinces, crop loss due to BBM is considered minimal.
Establishment of BBM in a new region could threaten growers with pest-control costs in addition to costs already incurred to control other insect pests on blueberry plants. However, many insecticides that are used to control these other pests are also effective against BBM.
The presence of Drosophila suzukii (spotted wing drosophila, SWD) in southern Quebec since 2010 is an important consideration. Many of the pesticides used to control SWD would be effective in controlling BBM. Some biological control methods may also reduce the presence of these two fruit fly species.
Natural enemies of BBM may be present in blueberry fields and may contribute to pest control. However, these are unlikely to reduce BBM populations below damaging levels on their own. Other integrated pest management practices can be used in the production site to control BBM.
Potential trade impacts
BBM is present in various states in the United States and in various provinces in Canada. British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador are considered to be free of BBM. Regulated commodities must meet specific conditions in order to be moved from regulated areas of Canada and the United States to non-regulated areas of Canada. Depending on the case, a Movement Certificate, a Phytosanitary Certificate or a Movement Certification Label is required in order to certify the shipment of regulated commodities as free from BBM. The United States does not have any federal regulations in place for BBM. This means that blueberry fruit entering the United States from Canada does not require inspection by CFIA, certification under the Blueberry Certification Program, or issuance of phytosanitary certificates. Only the states of California, Oregon and Washington have specific phytosanitary requirements for the importation of fresh blueberries.
Existing domestic, provincial and other programs
The Blueberry Certification Program (BCP) is a program designed to establish pest free places of production and to allow the movement of regulated commodities from regulated areas in Canada and the United States to non-regulated areas in Canada. This program is based on approval of growers; pest monitoring and control procedures; grading, sampling and testing. All blueberries shipped under the BCP must originate from growers certified by the National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) of the country of origin or certified under its authority and must originate from a monitored production area. The CFIA conducts annual audits of facilities and spot monitoring of blueberry movement outside regulated areas. Shipments must be free of all living stages of quarantine pests, meet the conditions for other regulated pests, and be practically free of soil, sand, leaves and plant debris, including woody materials. It should be noted that there are no requirements for movement of regulated commodities between regulated areas.
British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador both regulate the movement of commodities that could be infested by BBM. British Columbia's restrictions are described in the province's Blueberry Maggot Control Regulations (B.C. Regulation 280/90). Newfoundland and Labrador's are described in the Newfoundland Berry Regulations (Newfoundland Regulation 1195/96).
8.0 Pest risk management options for Quebec
This section presents three pest risk management options for BBM. The advantages and disadvantages of each option are discussed.
8.1 Pest risk management option 1: Regulate the entire province of Quebec
Under this option, the entire province of Quebec would be regulated for BBM.
- Check This option would allow movement of all regulated commodities within Quebec and into Quebec, without specific requirements regarding BBM.
- Check Blueberry producers in Quebec would only be required to participate in the BCP if they ship fresh blueberries to non-regulated areas in Canada.
- Check The CFIA would consider the entire province of Quebec to be regulated and would no longer have measures in place to slow the human-assisted spread of BBM into and within the province of Quebec.
- Check All Quebec blueberry producers, including low-bush producers, who intend to move fresh blueberries to non-regulated areas in Canada would need to participate in the BCP.
- Check Regulated commodities moved from anywhere in Quebec to non-regulated areas in Canada would need to be certified free from BBM by CFIA.
8.2 Pest risk management option 2: Add the MRC Maria-Chapdelaine to the list of regulated MRCs
Under this option, only the MRC Maria-Chapdelaine would be regulated.
- Check Other areas in Quebec, where the BBM has not yet been detected, would still be considered non-regulated areas. No changes would be made to the requirements for the movement of regulated articles from other MRCs.
- Check Movement restriction and survey efforts would be directed to neighboring MRCs to better protect them.
- Check Companies located in the regulated area would be required to participate in the BCP or obtain a movement certificate to transport their fresh blueberries to neighboring non-regulated MRCs. There is currently a high volume of movement of regulated articles between the various MRCs of Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean. Movement of regulated articles in the MRCs of Lac St-Jean would thus become more complex.
- Check Blueberry growers in the regulated area who want to ship their fresh fruit production to the rest of Quebec or to other non-regulated areas in Canada would be required to obtain a movement certificate or participate in the BCP.
- Check Spread of blueberry maggot from possible infested fields in neighboring MRCs where blueberry maggot has not reached a detectable level would not be addressed.
8.3 Pest risk management option 3: Add the MRCs which are part of the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean administrative region to the list of regulated MRCs
Under this option, the MRCs Maria-Chapdelaine, Domaine-du-Roy, Lac-St-Jean Est, Saguenay and Fjord-du-Saguenay would be regulated.
- Check This option would allow regulated articles to move within this part of Quebec as well as to other regulated areas, with no requirements related specifically to blueberry maggot.
- Check Other areas of Quebec that are currently not regulated would continue to be protected by movement restrictions.
- Check Regulated products shipped from these MRCs to non-regulated areas of Quebec or to other non-regulated areas in Canada would be required to be certified free of BBM as stated in directive D-02-04.
Comments on this risk management document and the preferred options were solicited from Canadian stakeholders from November 29, 2019 until January 15, 2020.
After reviewing all of the comments received a decision was made.
10.0 Pest risk management decision
CFIA has decided to implement the changes described in the option 3.
The majority of the comments received from Quebec stakeholders support this option. All MRCs located in the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean administrative region; that means MRCs Maria-Chapdelaine, Domaine-du-Roy, Lac-St-Jean Est, Saguenay and Fjord-du-Saguenay, will be considered to be regulated for blueberry maggot. The remaining MRCs on the north shore of the Saint Lawrence river will continue to be considered to be non-regulated and surveys to verify pest freedom will continue. If blueberry maggot is confirmed to be established in a MRC that is currently not regulated, the MRC will be added to the existing regulated area.
This option allows the movement of regulated commodities within regulated areas in Quebec and from these regulated areas to other regulated areas in Canada without requirements related specifically to blueberry maggot. Directive D-02-04 will be updated to reflect these changes to the regulated area and its implementation will continue to ensure control on the movement of regulated commodities and mitigate the risks of spreading blueberry maggot to non-regulated areas of Canada. Producers located within regulated areas are free to implement pest management measures at their discretion.
Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA): Plant Health Glossary of Terms
Ministère des Affaires Municipales, Régions et Occupation du Territoire (French only)
Plant Protection Act
Plant Protection Regulations
D-02-04: Phytosanitary requirements for the importation from the continental United States and for domestic movement of commodities regulated for blueberry maggot. CFIA, Ottawa.
RMD-11-03: Revision of the geographic boundaries of the regulated areas for the blueberry maggot Rhagoletis mendax Curran in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. 2012. CFIA, Ottawa.
RMD-14-02: Revision of the geographic boundaries of the regulated areas for the blueberry maggot Rhagoletis mendax Curran in the province of Ontario. CFIA, Ottawa.
Damus, M. 2009. Biological information, estimate of potential distribution of R. mendax Curran in Lac St-Jean area of Quebec. CFIA. PRA No. 2002-37. Map updated 2014.
Garland, J.A. and Dobesberger, E.J. 2002. Plant Health Risk Assessment on blueberry maggot. CFIA. PRA 2002-37.
Garland, J.A. and Watler, D.E. 1997. Pest Risk Assessment on blueberry maggot with particular reference to Lac St-Jean, Quebec. CFIA. PRA 1997-63.
Watler, D.E. 1989. Pest Risk Analysis on blueberry maggot. CFIA. PRA 1989-12.
Approved by: Chief Plant Health Officer
Chief Plant Health Officer
- Date modified: