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Joint Effort To Eradicate Seasquirt Menace

Thursday 13 October 2005

Biosecurity New Zealand and Aquaculture Industry Work Together on Seasquirt

Members of Biosecurity New Zealand’s response team to the incursion of the clubbed tunicate seasquirt met with representatives of the country’s marine farming industry today to investigate working together on the situation.

The clubbed tunicate, which has arrived in New Zealand from overseas, has been confirmed here at the Viaduct Harbour in Auckland and at Lyttelton Harbour.

A single specimen of a juvenile clubbed tunicate has also been confirmed on the hull of a vessel which had sailed to Picton from the Viaduct. That vessel was quickly removed from the water and has been thoroughly cleaned.

At today’s meeting industry participants outlined their valid concerns about the threat the seasquirt poses to their industry and Biosecurity New Zealand ran through details of how the incursion response is taking shape.

“We will be working as a team on this issue,” says Senior Marine Advisor Brendan Gould. “We are all clear that we want the best possible outcome in this situation. However, it’s not just an issue for marine farmers, it’s an issue for everyone who uses the waters around New Zealand.”

Contractors to Biosecurity New Zealand began work at the Viaduct in Auckland today, examining wharf structures in the area.

“We are expecting a report back on the situation there in the next day or so,” Mr Gould says.

“Divers there are pulling up specimens and samples to analyse, but it’s still too early to clarify the findings or identify what they are.”

A diver will also be in the water in Waikawa Bay in Picton tomorrow (Friday 14th October 2005) to check the area around where the vessel from Auckland was briefly berthed.

And arrangements are underway to begin similar checks in Lyttelton Harbour.

ENDS

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