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Minister urges boaties to prevent squirt's spread

20 December 2005 Media release


Minister urges boaties to prevent spread of sea squirt

Boaties are being encouraged to help stop the spread of the invasive sea squirt this summer by the Minister for Biosecurity, Jim Anderton.

"The Styela clava sea squirt can be spread on heavily fouled vessel hulls. Because of this, I am urging New Zealand's sailors to take extra care with their hull hygiene this key boating season.

“The message is clear - don’t set sail with a fouled hull," Jim Anderton said.

The sea squirt, which poses a threat to the marine environment and the country’s aquaculture industry, was first found in New Zealand in September. Since then Biosecurity New Zealand has been acting in urgent response to that discovery.

“Surveillance has been undertaken at 24 high-risk locations to establish where the sea squirt is present. Those locations were chosen because of their proximity to known infested areas, their volume of vessel movements or their closeness to areas of economic, environmental or cultural significance.

"The sea squirt has been confirmed widely throughout the Hauraki Gulf, at Tutukaka in Northland, and in Lyttelton," Jim Anderton said.

Biosecurity New Zealand has been working with world scientific experts on the sea squirt, as well as key industry advisors, to help develop a long-term action response to the organism.

Over the Christmas break, Biosecurity New Zealand is undertaking a comprehensive public awareness campaign, encouraging boaties and other marine users to help prevent the spread of the organism this summer.

“People will be hearing a lot about the sea squirt in the coming weeks. As well as extensive press and radio advertising, Biosecurity New Zealand has spread information widely throughout boating circles. There will also be advisors on hand in key marinas around the country like Auckland and other boating holiday spots, to hand out information and raise awareness," the Minister said.

Jim Anderton lent a hand to the cause today (Tuesday 20 December) at the Clyde Quay Marina in Wellington’s Oriental Bay, by assisting with the cleaning of a vessel before it sets sail.

ENDS

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