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Don’t spread invasive freshwater pests this summer

Gisborne District Council and Biosecurity New Zealand are reminding everyone who visits rivers, lakes and streams this summer to check, clean and dry their gear when they move between waterways.

“Checking, cleaning and drying your gear between waterways stops the spread of invasive freshwater pests, such as didymo, hornwort, pest fish and oxygen weed,” says Gisborne’s Check Clean Dry advocate, Teegan Maxwell.

Ms Maxwell says freshwater pests pose a serious threat to all rivers, streams and lakes in the Gisborne Wairoa area.

“If pests get into our waterways they are just about impossible to get rid of, they cost a fortune to manage and can ruin beautiful water ways and habitat for native species.

Some freshwater pests, like didymo, are microscopic and can be spread in a single drop of water. Even if you can’t see the danger you could be spreading it,” she said.

Ms Maxwell recommends people follow the simple Check-Clean-Dry process before leaving any waterway:

• Check all gear that touched water and leave behind any weed or debris.
• Clean gear with a simple solution of 5% dishwashing liquid (one tablespoon per 250mls of water). The solution can be tipped into anchor wells, bilge areas, kayak hulls and sprayed onto wet surfaces and fishing gear. Absorbent materials, such as lifejackets, wetsuits, booties and tramping boots can be soaked for several minutes
• Dry gear inside and out for at least 24 hours before visiting another waterway.

“Following these simple procedures will help stop freshwater pests from spreading throughout New Zealand’s waterways. If we all do our bit, we’ll protect our waterways for future generations,” said Ms Maxwell.

For more information about didymo and other freshwater pests visit www.mpi.govt.nz/check-clean-dry .

To report suspected Didymo or other pests, phone the hotline immediately on 0800 80 99 66.

© Scoop Media

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