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Marine biosecurity promotion timely

Hon Jim Anderton

Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Biosecurity Minister of Fisheries, Minister of Forestry Associate Minister of Health Associate Minister for Tertiary Education

Progressive Leader

6 January 2007

Marine biosecurity promotion timely

Boaties, fishermen, and other people enjoying our coastal waters over summer need to keep their eyes peeled for potential marine pests, Biosecurity Minister Jim Anderton said today.

"Biosecurity surveillance is not just the Government's job. Everyone has a part to play in keeping our borders secure, and we need everyone to be our eyes and ears. Marine biosecurity is a particularly difficult area to patrol properly, with New Zealand's vast stretches of coastline, so we need anyone who sees anything out of the ordinary to report it to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry's biosecurity arm as soon as possible."

MAF Biosecurity New Zealand is distributing 30,000 copies of laminated cards during the summer holidays to boaties, fishermen, and others. As well as promoting the surveillance message, the cards promote the key actions boaties can take to protect the marine environment - keeping their boat hulls clean and well anti-fouled to avoid spreading any marine pests that may already be here.

The cards are going out to boaties through marinas, regional councils, the Conservation Department, and industry bodies for commercial operators. Copies are also on hand at some boating clubs, vessel haulouts, and through MAF itself.

Jim Anderton said the cards were a timely reminder for people using the water for recreation and work that marine biosecurity was important. Commercial fishing and aquaculture alone earned $1.35 billion for New Zealand in 2006, not to mention the earnings from our tourism industry. Marine pests can severely damage these industries as well as the wider coastal environment.

"In summer, people tend to be out on the water, boating, fishing, and diving, so the chances are they may come across something that should not be in our waters. Now is a good time to find and report any potential invaders."

Jim Anderton said that as well as the vessel cleaning guidelines, the laminated cards had illustrations and information on seven of the most pernicious marine pests so that people who see anything suspicious can check it out against the cards, he said.

"Those cards also have useful information on what to do if anything odd is found, and how to report the potential finds, using MAF Biosecurity New Zealand's tollfree number 0800 80 99 66."

ENDS

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