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Boaties: Keep it clean down below this summer

Caulerpa OmakiwiCove 20230601 TD 36 002

Keeping boat hulls and anchors clean is the best way to protect Hawke’s Bay waters and reduce the risk of introducing or spreading unwanted marine pests.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Senior Biodiversity Advisor Alice McNatty, says it’s important to play our part and keep boats clean as more people head onto the water during summer.

“We are asking boaties to give us a hand to keep marine pests out of our environment. There are incredibly invasive pests out there that pose a substantial threat to the coastlines we love, our economy, and our way of life. They’re often spread on boat hulls, so the best defence is making sure hulls are clean when leaving and entering Hawke’s Bay waters.”

“One of these pests is Caulerpa – an invasive seaweed that can spread rapidly, forming vast, dense underwater fields, and will rapidly out-compete native species. It has been found in several locations in Northland and Auckland and we’re keen to make sure it doesn’t spread to our region. Once it’s in our waters, it’s difficult to eradicate.”

“We also want to remind boaties of the ‘clean hull’ rule in place within the Hawke’s Bay Regional Pest Management Plan. Vessels entering regional waters must have a sufficiently cleaned and anti-fouled hull so there is no more than a slime layer and/or goose barnacles. It’s been fantastic to see people already doing this, but we’ll have a team out checking this summer to make sure people are keeping their boats clean.”

Before the busy summer season starts, boaties are encouraged to haul their boat out early to ensure they have time to clean their vessels and avoid spreading pests between regions.

If any exotic plant species or other marine pests have been identified on a boat or structure, contact the Regional Council with details of the finding on 06 835 9200 or 0800 108 838.

To learn more about pest plants and what we’re doing to keep them out of our waters, head to and search #pesthub.

Pictured: Dense mat of Caulerpa at Omakiwi Cove in the Bay of Islands, Northland
Photo credit: Northland Regional Council

7 December 2023

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