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The hunt for marine pests gets back underway

by Zoe Hawkins 4 Oct 01:21 PDT 4 October 2021
Eudistoma on Scotts Landing wharf © Samantha Happy, Auckland Council

Summer surveillance is set to get underway again soon, with divers in Northland, Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Waikato (Coromandel), Gisborne and Hawkes Bay and checking moored and berthed vessels, and marine structures for marine pests.

They are looking out for species including Asian date mussel (Arcuatula senhousia), Australian droplet tunicate (Eudistoma elongatum), clubbed tunicate (Styela clava), sea squirt (Clavelina oblonga) and Mediterranean fanworm (Sabella spallanzanii).

Other unwanted species not known to be in New Zealand yet – but which divers will also be vigilant for – include northern Pacific seastar (Asterias amurensis), European green crab (Carcinus maenas) the green alga (Caulerpa taxifolia), Chinese mitten crab (Eriocheir sinensis) and Asian clam (Potamocorbula amurensis).

If a marine pest is found, it’s likely that the council will be in contact with the boat or structure owner to let them know and to arrange for cleaning, if needed. Steps taken will depend on the pest found, and the level of biofouling.

Boaties can get info on keeping their boat cleaned and well maintained, find a local haulout, and check up on the rules, at www.marinepests.nz

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