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Inner harbour survey looking for marine pests

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Ahuriri Inner Harbour and Napier Port will be surveyed for marine pests in April as part of a national biosecurity programme.

Regional Council Team Leader Pest Plants and Marine Biosecurity Alice McNatty says the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) will be carrying out the survey looking for potentially invasive marine animals and plants.

“This survey gives us an idea if any pests have established in our waters close to shore. We’ve worked hard in Hawke’s Bay to keep pests out, and ongoing monitoring is really helpful to let us know what’s going on,” says Ms McNatty.

“The invasive marine pest Mediterranean fanworm was found on a vessel in Napier late last year, which was a reminder of why we do these surveys and a warning that we’ve got to keep vigilant and for all boaties to keep their hulls clean.”

Biosecurity New Zealand’s National Marine High Risk Site Surveillance survey has been going since 2002 at different ports and marinas around the country, with the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) conducting the surveys on behalf of Biosecurity New Zealand.

NIWA’s Dr Chris Woods says they will be surveying the area using a range of techniques.

“We will be sampling by setting baited box traps for crabs and starfish, setting unbaited habitat traps, sampling the seafloor using a small benthic sled, searching the intertidal zone on foot, and diving to inspect wharf piles, walls and rocky shores. You’ll see our two small research vessels out on the water from 28 March to 1 April,” says Dr Woods.

At the same time, the Regional Council has commissioned the Bay of Plenty Regional Council dive team to do a separate survey. This will just be a survey of the inner harbour, but they will be looking over all hard structures/vessels.

“These surveys combined give us a great picture of marine life and any pests we might have in the area,” adds Ms McNatty.

Find out more about marine pests and what we are doing to keep them out of our waters. Information on the National Marine High Risk Site Surveillance programme is available on the Marine Biosecurity Porthole.

The Hawke’s Bay Regional Pest Management Plan has a ‘clean hull’ rule, which means that vessels entering Hawke’s Bay regional waters must have a sufficiently cleaned and anti-fouled hull so there is no more than a no slime layer and/or goose barnacles.

Photo credit: Dr Chris Woods (NIWA)

30 March 2022

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