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Marine Pests Under Fire During Seaweek

MEDIA RELEASE
0800 002 004 | www.nrc.govt.nz Putting Northland first

Number of pages: 02
Date: 26 February, 2013

Marine Pests Under Fire During Seaweek

Enviroschools Northland is hoping to produce a raft of new crusaders against the region’s marine invaders, in a workshop being run as part of the upcoming annual Seaweek programme.

The marine pest workshop – to be held in the Bay of Islands on Tuesday, 05 March 2013 – is a chance for teachers and interested whanau to learn about what’s invading Northland’s coastal waters and how school communities can help.

Marine pests are a serious threat to Northland’s shellfish and native marine species, but they also provide a unique education opportunity, says Northland Regional Council Enviroschools Co-ordinator Susan Karels.

“With this workshop we want to give people the tools to take back to their own schools and get their students involved in protecting our coastal waters.

“Everyone can play a part in the battle against marine pests – the more eyes out there looking for them, the better.”

Topics covered at the workshop will include identification of different marine pests, where they’re found, small-scale surveillance and inshore searches, setting crab traps, monitoring of hull fouling, what resources are available, and more.

Mrs Karels says that, with the spate of marine pest incursions over recent months and having the longest coastline of any region in the country, marine biosecurity is critically important to Northland.

“Mediterranean fanworm has turned up as an unwanted hitch-hiker on at least six boats that have come into Northland over the last 12 months.

“And the Northern Pacific seastar – a prolific breeder and voracious feeder – could cause considerable damage to our kaimoana if it jumped the ditch to here from Australia.

“These are just two of the many marine pests threatening our region. To keep them out – and prevent the spread of those that are already here – we all need to be involved.”

The workshop will include sessions with local experts Don Mackenzie (Biosecurity Programme Manager for the Northland Regional Council) and Samara Nicholas (Programme Director for Mountains To Sea Conservation Trust – Experiencing Marine Reserves).

Mrs Karels says there are still spaces available for the 05 March workshop at Doves Bay (Kerikeri), but people need to sign-up fast to avoid missing out – those interested in attending should call the council on 0800 002 004.

Marine biosecurity is one of several themes for this year’s national Seaweek, which runs 2-10 March 2013. Seaweek brings together a wide range of sea-related events and activities in each region, and is run by the New Zealand Association for Environmental Education: www.nzaee.org.nz


Caption for image ‘Mediterranean fanworm in Whg’
The Mediterranean fanworm is one of many marine pests that teachers and whanau will learn about at the Enviroschools workshop on Tuesday 05 March.

ENDS

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