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Reminder to look out for marine pests in Canterbury this summer

Wednesday, October 6, 2021   Posted in: Signatory Notice Board By: Administrator With tags: biodiversity, recreation, water

Environment Canterbury media release: 6th October 2021

Boaties are being urged to check and clean their hulls to help stop the spread of marine pests in our harbours before hitting the water this summer.

Marine pests have the potential to severely damage our marine ecosystems so we don’t want them spreading further in our waters.

The three main marine pests to look out for in Canterbury’s harbours are Mediterranean fanworm, Clubbed tunicate and Undaria seaweed.

Manager Biosecurity Parks and Forests Carl Diamond said it’s important boaties play their part in protecting Canterbury’s beautiful waterways.

“The primary pathway that unwanted marine pests are spread is via marine vessel movements. It might seem like a small thing, but when you keep a clean hull you are protecting our marine biodiversity, our kai moana and our local economy,” he said.

Carl said marine pests pose a significant risk to the waterways in our region. “They tend to out compete our native species and they can be very difficult to eradicate once they are here.”

“That risk is becoming greater as marine vessel movements increase and our waters warm,” he added.

Carl warned spreading a marine pest also comes at a cost.

“Transporting marine pests has the potential to cost millions of dollars to the taxpayer, ratepayer and affected industries, not to mention the impact on our native species,” he said.

Help prevent the spread

Prevent the spread of marine pests and to protect the waters we love by:

  • Checking your boat hulls for marine pests.
  • Booking a haul out and clean, if necessary.
  • If moving between regions, checking out yhr regional rules on hull cleaning before you depart.

When cleaning your hull, do it right. Taking shortcuts can make the problem much worse. You must ensure that no contaminants, like marine pests, are discharged into the water during your cleaning process.

How to report sightings of pests

There a couple of ways to report marine pest sighting:

  • Call the Ministry for Primary Industries pest and disease hotline on 0800 80 99 66.
    If possible, please take photos and record the location. The location could be the name of a vessel and where it was moored, or the physical location if it was found on the seafloor or structures.
  • Use the Find-A-Pest App.
    If you come across something out of the ordinary, simply upload a picture to the app and a Find-A-Pest specialist or the iNaturalist community will help identify it.
    If your observation is considered a potential biosecurity threat, this will be forwarded to Biosecurity New Zealand to contact you if necessary.
    If taking a photo of a vessel, be sure to capture the name and its location for tracing purposes.

Find out more about marine pests (Environment Canterbury).