Check your boat’s clean before you set sail

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Check your boat’s clean before you set sail

Mediterranean fanworm. Credit: Diving Services New Zealand LTD

If you’re a boatie and you’re getting ready for the summer season, make sure you’re not carrying marine pests with you when you set sail.

Mediterranean fanworm, which has the potential to infest marine farms and ecosystems, is one of the pests that Council biosecurity staff will focus on again this summer.

Mediterranean fanworm (also known as Sabella) is an introduced marine species, only prevalent in northern NZ. It forms dense populations that can crowd out native marine life and potentially affect marine farming. There are similar native fanworms seen in Marlborough waters, but these are not invasive like Sabella.

Senior Biosecurity Officer, Liam Falconer says the Council works closely with partners through the Top of the South Marine Biosecurity Partnership to highlight the threat of marine pests. Council is also actively implementing an operational programme of surveillance and response aimed at preventing the establishment of Mediterranean fanworm in particular.

“It’s important boaties continue to work with us to prevent Sabella incursions into Marlborough waters. The majority of incursions we’ve detected have come from the upper North Island on recreational vessels. Boaties visiting these areas need to ensure their vessel has been cleaned before they head south so they don’t bring marine pests back to Marlborough.

“Both the Ministry for Primary Industries and Council encourage the owners of moored boats to regularly haul and clean their hulls and keep their antifouling paint in good, effective condition.”

“Marine pests can threaten the very things boaties value - clear waters, pristine beaches and an abundance of marine life, including kai moana. A heavily fouled hull can also cause long-term damage to boat hulls, and increase fuel and maintenance costs,” Mr Falconer said.

For more information visit the Marine Biosecurity section of this website

If you think you have found Mediterranean fanworm please do not try to remove it yourself; instead contact Council immediately

Phone: 03 520 7400