The European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO) has issued an alert confirming that the Tunisian authorities have officially declared an area infected with Phyllosticta citricarpa, the fungus that causes black spot. We are talking about 2,000 hectares in the Nabeul Governorate; a citrus growing area in the northeast of the country. This proves that the climatic conditions of the Mediterranean basin are not an impediment to its establishment.
Following the interception by French border authorities of up to seven shipments of citrus from Tunisia with the presence of this fungus, an investigation was launched in March and April by the Tunisian phytosanitary authorities. This confirmed that the infected batches came from the municipalities of Beni Khalled, Bouargoub and Menzel Bouzelfa. The origin of this outbreak is unknown, but it is suspected that infected plant material has been illegally brought to this area (the importation of citrus plants for planting is prohibited in Tunisia), and that the floods recorded in this region in September 2018 facilitated the spread of the fungus.