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Sea Squirt found in Coromandel

Sea Squirt found in Coromandel

The invasive sea squirt, the clubbed tunicate, has been confirmed present in Wilsons Bay in the Coromandel.

The suspicion of its presence was reported to Biosecurity New Zealand by a mussel farm operation in the area. A sample from the farm has just been confirmed as positive.

The organism was discovered during mussel harvesting operations from the Wilsons Bay area.

The clubbed tunicate is a fouling organism that grows on marine structures including aquaculture equipment. There are no known human health issues around consuming shellfish that have been associated with this sea squirt.

The clubbed tunicate has to date been located throughout the Hauraki Gulf, on shellfish farms on Waiheke Island and at Kaiaua in the Firth of Thames and in Lyttelton.

Biosecurity New Zealand says work is ongoing on checking potentially high-risk locations for the organism. A new list of upcoming locations is expected to be released shortly.

In the meantime, the agency is continuing to ask members of the public and marine users to report any suspect finds to its free 0800 number: 0800 80 99 66.

And it is asking boaties to ensure their boat hulls are clean and free of fouling. The sea squirt can be spread on fouled boat hulls.

ENDS

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