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Don’t get complacent about didymo


For immediate release: Wednesday 20 December 2006

Don’t get complacent about didymo

You can’t afford to get complacent about didymo. Donald Calder (pictured) has a decontamination tank on-site at his kayak business near Lake Rotoiti. It’s really important that kayakers clean their kayaks, life jackets and other gear in a dishwashing solution before moving between waterways, he says. Environment Bay of Plenty has provided the tank for free use. Environment Bay of Plenty will have a team of staff, including Fiona Maguire (front), on the road over summer promoting the didymo message.

Bay of Plenty lake and river users can’t afford to get complacent about didymo.

Biosecurity New Zealand’s advice to check, clean and dry gear between waterways applies to the whole of New Zealand, says Environment Bay of Plenty. “It’s not just a message for people in the South Island or from overseas,” says Rotorua pest plant officer Richard Mallinson. “We don’t think didymo is in the North Island yet – but it could be – and we just can’t take any chances.” Because of this, he urges all water users to check, clean and dry any gear between waterways every single time.

And that applies even if you’re going from the Rangitaiki River to the Kaituna River. “Didymo is an invisible alga - you won’t see it so you won’t know that you’re transferring it. We have to be extremely careful from now on.”

Mr Mallinson has just returned from the South Island, where he visited rivers full of didymo. “It is disgusting stuff. It has such a devastating effect and it would be terrible to see that happening here.”

Supported by Biosecurity New Zealand, staff from Environment Bay of Plenty and the Department of Conservation will be promoting the didymo message all around the region’s lakes and rivers over summer. They will also remind boaties to be careful not to transfer strands of aquatic weeds into lakes and waterways.

What can you do? Before moving to a new waterway…
- Check your gear for aquatic weed fragments
- Clean it by soaking or spraying with a dishwashing detergent solution
- Do not wear felt-soled waders in different waterways – standard cleaning practices do not kill didymo


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