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Eradicate Sea Squirt With Urgency

Eradicate Sea Squirt With Urgency

6 October 2005

Callum McCallum NZ Aquaculture Council Chair, is calling for Biosecurity New Zealand to immediately eradicate the known infestations of the foreign Sea Squirt discovered in the Viaduct Harbour at Auckland and in Lyttelton Harbour near Christchurch.

He says “Our industry already contributes over $300Million per annum to NZ of supreme seafood products and we are planning for production of over $1Billion per annum, in exports alone, by 2020. This sea squirt is a very serious threat to our industry.”

The ‘sea squirt’, Styela clava, originally from Korea, is a very serious pest in similar marine farming areas overseas where it causes smothering and crop falloff. Once widely established it is very difficult to manage. It could also pose a serious threat to NZ marine ecosystems.

He says ”However we remain hopeful since the two known infestations appear to have a limited spread and the organism, while a prolific breeder, is fairly localised in spreading its spawn. However recent experience with human assisted spread, has taught us we must move quickly to eradicate exotic pests such as this. Containment is not an option.”

Effective options for eradication do exist including wrapping the infected areas and chemical treatment.

He says “While we fully support Biosecurity NZ‘s proposals to declare it an unwanted organism and to do a delimiting survey to measure the extent of contamination, we believe these can be done sooner than within one month.”

He says “Most importantly however we cannot afford to wait for more than one month until we consider whether to implement any eradication response. Eradication is the only proper response at this stage and immediate steps must be taken now, to eradicate the known breeding colonies of this foreign sea squirt. Simultaneously with eradication procedures, Biosecurity NZ can investigate further the extent of the problem and address organisational issues.“

He says in conclusion “We need immediate action from Biosecurity New Zealand to eradicate known infestations of this foreign Sea Squirt pest. Industry will act wherever possible to ensure NZ has a successful immediate eradication response”.

ENDS

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