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Marine Pests

Marine pests can have a significant impact on our natural coastal environment, and we can all take steps to help prevent them establishing in Hawke’s Bay waters.

ahuriri0002 50pcWhy are marine pests a problem?

Marine pests compete with and prey on native species, modify natural habitats, affect marine industries, and alter ecosystem processes. Once here, they are difficult and expensive to get rid of.

Boat hulls are considered the main way marine pests are spread. A restricted number of harbours, and vessels entering Hawke’s Bay presents an opportunity to manage the main domestic vector pathway of marine pests, this being boat hulls, entering Hawke’s Bay waters.

Visit our 'Pest Hub' to find out about specific marine pests.

Marine pest rules for Hawke’s Bay

Under the Biosecurity Act 1993 operators of a vessel must abide by this rule:

The operator of a vessel entering the waters of the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council must ensure the hull (includes hull area, niche areas and wind and water line) or any structure or navigation aid of any origin, is sufficiently cleaned and antifouled so that there is no more than a slime layer and/or goose barnacles.

Two  marine pests - Mediterranean fanworm (Sabella spallanzanii) and Clubbed tunicate (Styela clava) - are  classified as Exclusion Pests in the Regional Pest Management Plan.  Neither of these pests are known to be established in Hawke’s Bay but are established in some other areas of New Zealand.  We want to keep our marine environment free of these invasive pests.

Why have these rules?

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s Regional Pest Management Plan came into effect in February  2019.The aim of this plan is to prevent the introduction of new marine pests into Hawke’s Bay, particularly Mediterranean fanworm and Clubbed tunicate.

International commercial shipping is governed by international rules about ballast and hull cleaning.

What we are doing to prevent the spread of marine pests

In early 2019 Hawke’s Bay Regional Council commissioned a survey by divers of the underwater structures in Napier’s Inner Harbour to look for Mediterranean fanworm and Clubbed tunicate. This recent survey showed that the harbour is clear of these pests, and the survey will be carried out in another 2 years.  The previous diver survey in 2016 also showed these pests were not present. 

Also early in 2019 regional council biosecurity staff held a well-attended workshop to discuss marine pest issues with local boating and harbour interests.

In November 2017 Hawke’s Bay Regional Council staff worked with the Mana Ahuriri Trust to remove 219 tonnes of invasive marine tubeworm  (Ficopomatus enigmaticus) from Ahuriri estuary. Read more about that project.

Staff have an important advisory role for landowners and work to raise awareness.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is part of the North Marine Biosecurity Partnership with 6 other regional and unitary councils, sharing knowledge and expertise.

International Vessels

International vessels that stay in New Zealand waters for up to 20 days and are only visiting approved Places of First Arrival, remain under and must abide by the rules of the Craft Risk Management Standard (CRMS): Biofouling.

International vessels staying for 21 days or more, or visiting non-approved Places of First Arrival, must abide by the Coastal Plan rules of the relevant regional council/unitary authority, following the completion of MPI biosecurity inspections in accordance with CRMS.

International vessels arriving in New Zealand waters have additional obligations under the Craft Risk Management Standard: Biofouling on Vessels Arriving to New Zealand (May 2014).

Watch our video to find out more about what the team does


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