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Rapid response needed for invasive menace

29 September 2005

Rapid response needed for invasive menace

The discovery of the invasive weed didymo in a fourth South Island river needs a quick and thorough response by everyone concerned, Green Party MP Metiria Turei says.

Didymo, also known as rock snot, has been confirmed in the lower Waiau, Mararoa and Buller rivers. Authorities are awaiting test results to determine whether algae found in Otago's Hawea River is also the destructive weed.

"Didymo is an extremely aggressive invasive algae that can seriously damage the ecology of South Island rivers; looking like mats of soggy toilet paper, it quickly smothers out other plants and threatens fish life," Ms Turei says.

Restrictions have already been put in place on the lower Waiau and Mararoa rivers and are expected to be placed on the Buller soon.

"Clearly all haste and maximum precaution is what is needed. I understand that as yet there is no effective means of eradication, but I am pleased to see Biosecurity New Zealand, Fish and Game and other river users working together to respond quickly to this threat.

"These groups working together to implement a high level public awareness campaign educating all river users as a matter of urgency is one of the best ways to protect our rivers.

"The more river users who are aware of what needs to be done to contain this serious threat the better," Mrs Turei says.

"These rivers are of huge economic significance, especially for the tourism industry and as such need to be protected as much as possible."

ENDS

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