Late in 2019 we interviewed Grant Brown from Sandspit Marina about his quest to keep the marina, built in 2016, free of Mediterranean Fanworm.
“I was proud of the fact we were fanworm free,” he says. “We were totally focused on monitoring and eradicating fanworm, but time and conditions have beaten us, and it is now living in the seabed here at Sandspit Marina.”
“In the early days, I was conscious of what was going on in Kawau, especially Bon Accord Harbour, which was infested. We felt this meant it was only a matter of time before it found its way here - whether by boat or of its own natural accord,” he says.
Grant, who is a keen and qualified diver, has checked the marina and surrounding water for fanworm – and other marine pests – regularly.
“We spent considerable amounts trying to eradicate fanworm when it was first discovered. We took out 4,500-5,000 living worms in the first year and made a commitment to monitor it on a yearly basis,” he says.
As for the majority of marinas and destinations that are still free of pests such as Mediterranean fanworm, Grant encourages all marina operators and boaties to continue to be vigilant and do their best, even though it is hard work.
Samantha Happy, Senior Marine Biosecurity Advisor at Auckland Council says that everyone has a role to play in managing the pathways through which marine pests can be spread.
In the case of Mediterranean fanworm and other marine pests, that is via fouling on boat hulls and appendages.
“Clean and check your boat,” she urges, “and report any marine pests that you find.”
Advice for boat owners, and links to local marine biosecurity rules, can be found at www.marinepests.nz