The brushtail possum is subject to an Exclusion programme as part of the Regional Pest Management Plan 2018. This Exclusion programme applies to the numerous possum-free islands in the Marlborough Sounds.
There are Rules and obligations on anyone visiting or operating even living near these islands to ensure the risk of introduction is no higher than a possum getting there on its own (with a lengthy swim or float!).
The brushtail possums are an ecological threat across the remainder of mainland Marlborough. Given they are widely established, including across large areas of steep hill country, there is no legal obligation for landowners to undertake control. Voluntary control is encouraged. Council and DOC staff can provide you with information on the best ways to control possums.
Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease that adversely affects cattle and deer, thereby impacting on farm productivity and threatening NZ international trade. The major source of Tb infection is through wildlife like possums and ferret as vectors. Bovine Tb is subject to a National Pest Management Plan (NPMP) in accordance with the Biosecurity Act 1993. OSPRI is responsible for implementing the NPMP.
The key objectives of the NPMP for TB is to achieve biological eradication from New Zealand by 2055, attain TB freedom in livestock by 2026 and ‘statistical freedom’ in possums by 2040. These objectives were endorsed by farmers, industry and local and central government through a major review of the TB programme in 2015. All of these parties want to protect our reputation as a supplier of safe, high quality meat and dairy products.
Wildlife vector management (focussing on possums) under the OSPRI operational programmes is a key component to achieve their programme objectives. However, as TB is eradicated from geographic areas, OSPRI no longer manage the possum population.
If landholder wishes to do so, this is the easiest time to implement control measures such as (bait station lines) to sustain low numbers.