From berthage to engine maintenance. Safety equipment to navigation. Food, water, and everything in between. When you own a boat there is a lot to think about. In recent years we’ve asked you to add one more thing to the list - biosecurity, both terrestrial and marine.
Marine biosecurity involves ways to protect the underwater environment from invasive pests. A large part of this is asking that all boats, recreational and commercial, check and clean their boats for hitchhiking marine pests.
Back on dry land, biosecurity is about protecting our precious unspoilt places like the islands in the Hauraki Gulf. It’s about checking all your gear –camping gear, food, building supplies - you name it - before you leave the mainland for unwanted pests like ants, rats, and mice. It’s about cleaning your footwear too, so that you don’t inadvertently spread Kauri Dieback.
Why is it so important? Despite our border regulations relating to biofouling, second in the world only to the Galapagos Islands for their rigorousness, invasive marine pests can still make it to our shores. Sometimes by natural means – a process that can take years and requires luck, or sometimes onboard incoming vessels – which can happen in hours or days.
If they arrive we have to do our absolute best to make sure they don’t spread far and wide. We are trying to avoid situations where invasive pests take over and destroy our way of life. So far we’ve been pretty lucky. But we know from the experiences of places in Australia which have experienced devastating invasions of the Northern Pacific Seastar, that we never know what is around the corner. That is why five councils in the upper North Island, alongside the Department of Conservation and Ministry for Primary Industries are amongst those working so hard on this.
Likewise, out on the islands in the Hauraki Gulf, Auckland Council and the Department of Conservation are doing everything they can to restore biodiversity, to trap and control predators, and to protect our precious Kauri. Imagine if we could go back in time and prevent the spread of weeds like gorse, and pests like rats and mice. We’d do it. For many of these islands, we have a second chance to bring back what was originally there – kiwi, takahe and tuatara.
It’s a team effort and we need the support of every boatie and every visitor to islands in the Hauraki Gulf and elsewhere to make it work. Get info at www.marinepests.nz and www.doc.govt.nz/pestfreehaurakigulf