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Biosecurity divers survey for marine pests in Gisborne

23 Dec 2020

Biosecurity divers survey for marine pests in Gisborne

Fanworm Dec 16th 2020

Marine biosecurity divers were back in Gisborne’s inner harbour last week, undertaking their latest survey for marine pests.

The dive team from Bay of Plenty Regional Council carried out the routine surveillance, inspecting hotspots in the marina as part of Council’s ongoing efforts to eradicate Mediterranean Fanworm, with support from Biosecurity NZ.

Several fanworms were found and removed by the divers. Fanworm has previously been found in the marina but no new pests were detected during this surveillance dive.

All vessels inspected were clear of visible marine pests.

Biosecurity team leader Phil Karaitiana said it was fortunate the fanworms were removed, reducing the chances for further spread of the pest.

“It’s a timely reminder to all vessel owners to ensure hulls are kept clean and free of invasive pests, particularly when travelling between regions.

“Vessel owners should have their hulls regularly antifouled, and recreational users should ensure all gear is clean and dry before entering a new marine area. This reduces contamination of marine pests.”

Any boaties planning to head to this region over the summer season should be aware of the strict rules regarding clean hulls.

“Please plan your journey and be ready to supply all the necessary paperwork to prove your vessel is clean before you arrive – this will avoid the disappointment of being turned away,” Mr Karaitiana said.

Mediterranean fanworm is found in ports or estuaries in 1m – 30m deep water, attached to a range of surfaces in varying environmental conditions.

Its fast growth rate and prolific breeding habits make it likely to out-compete native species for space and food, reducing our native marine diversity.

Any suspicious findings should be reported to Council’s biosecurity team or to the Ministry of Primary Industries biosecurity hotline.