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Sea Squirt found in Northland

28 November 2005

Sea Squirt found in Northland

The invasive sea squirt, the clubbed tunicate, has been confirmed present in the marina at Tutukaka in Northland.

Two mature specimens of the sea squirt were collected during the surveillance work undertaken at the location last week (21 November).

Biosecurity New Zealand says the samples were sent to a laboratory for identification and confirmation of the positive identification came through today.

The two specimens were taken from a pontoon at Tutukaka. No further specimens were found.

The clubbed tunicate is a fouling organism that grows on marine structures and can grow on natural surfaces such as rocks and shells.

It has to date been located widely throughout the Hauraki Gulf and in Lyttelton. However surveillance of 20 other locations around New Zealand has not detected its presence.

Biosecurity New Zealand says work is ongoing checking a remaining five potentially high-risk locations for the organism.

The NIWA team undertaking the surveillance is today inspecting the Tauranga Bridge Marina.

Future inspections scheduled are:
Whakatane – Tuesday November 29
Tauranga Port – Weds November 30
Whitianga – Thurs December 1
New Plymouth – Thurs December 1

Biosecurity New Zealand 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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