Councils and agencies behind 'Clean Below? Good to Go' are searching marine structures, boats and shorelines for marine pests. Here is a regional round up of surveillance programmes underway, and findings this season.
Biosecurity divers discovered Mediterranean fanworm during an annual survey of marine pests at the inner harbour in Gisborne last week. Several fanworms were found and removed by the divers. Samples of the species will be sent away for further testing and dating for maturity. Fanworm has previously been found in the marina but no new pests were detected during this surveillance dive. All vessels inspected were clear of marine pests.
The good news is that no new incursions have been identified in Hawkes Bay this summer. Hawke’s Bay Regional Council undertakes biennial dive surveys of the Ahuriri Inner Harbour searching for marine pests. During this survey all structures and vessel hulls are inspected. No marine pests have been detected during these surveys. Alongside this, HBRC has a targeted hull surveillance programme whereby seven high risk vessels have been inspected this summer, and appropriate action has been undertaken.
Over the summer period the marine biosecurity team in Tauranga have completed a full round of surveillance at the Tauranga marinas, and inspected any vessels which have recently arrived back in the region, or were new to the region. This included the inspection of 968 boat hulls at the two marinas in Tauranga Harbour and 238 hulls at swing mooring sites. Happily, there have been no new incursions of marine pests in Tauranga so far this summer.
Waikato Regional Council conducts an annual surveys of vessels, marine infrastructure and popular mooring bays looking for marine pests. The Council checks the higher risk, higher traffic sites on the Coromandel Peninsula and outer islands more frequently, but goes as far as Raglan and Kawhia on the West Coast.
The Council is monitoring the spread of Mediterranean Fanworm out from Coromandel Harbour. It has started to appear as far north as Colville. And new a marine pest, has started to put in an appearance, Asian Paddle Crab.
In Auckland, contractors were due to commence the annual regional hull surveillance but works were unable to go ahead due to Covid-19 restrictions. The surveillance includes checking at least 600 vessel hulls for their level of fouling using both robotic cameras and divers to detect marine pests providing a snap shot of the state of Auckland’s fleet hull hygiene. The surveillance also helps to detect any new to New Zealand marine pest species. Recommencement of the hull surveillance will go ahead next summer. Manukau and Kaipara Harbours were surveyed last year for marine pests and the technical reports with the results will be available soon.
In Northland, divers are in the process of checking the last few hulls of their annual target of 2,000 vessel inspections. The inspection programme generally runs from October to May each year, and has been running for several years. So far this season, no new established populations of marine pests have been found in Northland, but over 100 vessels have been directed out of the water for immediate cleaning. In a search and removal operation, more than 1000 unwanted Mediterranean fanworm (Sabella spallanzanii) were pulled from the water in and around Opua Marina at the end of 2019.