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Mayor asks Auckland boaties for squirt vigilance

20 December 2005

Mayor asks Auckland boaties for sea squirt vigilance

Auckland city's mayor, Dick Hubbard, is asking boaties to clean boat hulls this summer and help stop the spread of sea squirt.

"With our magnificent location right on the Hauraki Gulf, we are a city of boaties and many of us will be out on the water over the summer break.

"I ask all Auckland boaties to be especially prudent about cleaning their boat's hull and act as environmental ambassadors for our beautiful gulf. There will be many tourists out sailing who may not know about the sea squirt threat and the precautions they should be taking. Get chatting to fellow boaties and spread the word," he says.

"We do unfortunately have the sea squirt in the waters of the Hauraki Gulf. Vigilance is particularly important if boaties are sailing out of these waters as the sea squirt could easily be spread if a vessel hull has fouling on it."

Boaties can assess their boat hull with the following questions: * Was the boat anti-fouled more than nine months ago?

* Do you use your boat on average less than twice a month?

* If fouling was manually removed from your boat, was it done more than two weeks ago? * Can visible 'macro fouling' (barnacles, blue mussels etc) be seen from the waterline?

If the answer to any of these questions is 'yes', then the boat should be inspected and cleaned, except if the boat was manually cleaned less than two weeks ago and the answer to the final question is 'no'.

Biosecurity New Zealand advisers will be visiting Auckland marinas from the end of this week talking to boaties and distributing information.

The sea squirt Styela clava is a tough skinned, club shaped animal that grows to about 16 cm long, filter feeds and poses a threat to our aquaculture industry as well as the marine environment. It prefers to settle on hard surfaces such as marine structures, boat hulls and moorings.

Boaties can call Biosecurity New Zealand on 0800 80 99 66 to report any sightings of the sea squirt.

For more information visit www.biosecurity.govt.nz/seasquirt .

ENDS


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