Pest categorisation of Botryosphaeria kuwatsukai
The Panel on Plant Health performed a pest categorisation of Botryosphaeria kuwatsukai, the causal agent of fruit rot and wart bark on apple and pear, for the EU. The pathogen, which was recently characterised, is a well-defined fungal species affecting mainly Pyrus pyrifolia (Japanese pear), although Pyrus communis (European pear) and apples (Malus domestica) can also be affected. The host status of other plant species reported in the literature, i.e. Cydonia oblonga, Chaenomeles japonica, Malus micromalus, Vitis vinifera and Prunus spp., is unclear. B. kuwatsukai is currently present in Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan and the USA, and uncertainty exists about its presence in other areas, where the disease has been associated with other Botryosphaeria spp. The pathogen is not known to occur in the EU and is listed in Annex IIAI of Directive 2000/29/EC. It could potentially enter the EU on host plants for planting and fruit originated in infested countries. Climatic conditions in the EU are suitable for the establishment and spread of the pathogen, as its epidemiology is similar to that of other Botryosphaeria spp. present in the EU. Pears and apples are widely distributed in the EU. In the infested areas, B. kuwatsukai causes branch dieback and fruit rot resulting in yield/quality losses. Its introduction and spread in the EU could impact pear and apple production, although the magnitude is unknown. Cultural practices and chemical measures may reduce the inoculum sources but cannot eliminate the pathogen. Phytosanitary measures are available to mitigate the risk of introduction and spread of the pathogen in the EU. B. kuwatsukai meets all criteria assessed by EFSA for consideration as a potential Union quarantine pest. As B. kuwatsukai is not known to occur in the EU, this criterion to consider it as a Union regulated non-quarantine pest is not met.