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New Government Funding To Help Control Undaria

The government is to spend $550,0001 over the next two years to help control the spread of the Asian kelp Undaria Pinnatifida to areas of national and global importance.

The Associate Minister for Biosecurity, Marian Hobbs, said the funding will be spent in two main ways:
* reducing the threat of vectors, such as boats, trailers and fishing gear, transferring Undaria to areas of national and global importance;
* educating people on how they can act to reduce the spread of Undaria.

At the same time, a risk assessment model for the marine environment will be developed. This will assess the relative threat Undaria poses to the marine environment compared to other exotic organisms. Ongoing funding will depend on the result of that assessment.

"Controlling the spread of Undaria to areas of national and global importance will have wide benefits to New Zealand’s marine biosecurity," Marian Hobbs said. "Education and controls for Undaria will reduce the risk of other invasive species spreading, generally heighten awareness of marine biosecurity, and help develop relationships between users of the marine environment."

Undaria is a highly invasive species of seaweed that is well adapted to New Zealand’s environmental conditions. It has already changed the “natural character” and ecology of localised areas, and has the potential to cause more widespread and significant changes.

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