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Learning the ropes – marine pests


NIWA and Biosecurity NZ, part of the Ministry for Primary Industries, led a Hawke’s Bay group exploring marine pests and the harm they cause on 3 July.

The group included locals from Napier Port, Napier Sailing Club, Legasea, the HB Fishing Club and dive contractors, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Napier City Council and Gisborne District Council.

The purpose of the workshop was to educate people to recognise marine pests and know what to do if they’re found.

Alice McNatty, Senior Biosecurity Advisor at the Regional Council, says there was some hands-on action to identify marine pests and learn how to send them off to the lab to be tested.

“It was great fun to get our hands dirty and learn how to identify and collect any pests we find – especially the squirting ones!”

Some of the pests the group looked at were the Mediterranean Fanworm and the Clubbed Tunicate, which aren’t known to be in Hawke’s Bay waters.

This workshop follows the introduction of the Hawke’s Bay Regional Pest Management Plan which came into effect on 1 February 2019 with a focus on protecting our native species and habitats.

“The inclusion of a marine pest management programme is a major change, particularly as any vessels coming into our waters need to have clean hulls to prevent marine pests spreading,” says Ms McNatty.

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