Fight on to stop marine pests

The curious nasties of the deep blue sea need not be a mystery any more. Northlanders can find out what marine pests are lurking beneath, and how to help stop their spread, at free workshops being offered throughout the region.

Northland Regional Council's biosecurity officer, Jillian Fulcher, is offering to attend community meetings and run the one or two-hour marine pest workshops.

"Marine pests could have one of the greatest impacts on Northland, but it only takes one person to make an enormous difference when it comes to stopping their spread," Ms Fulcher said.

She is offering the free workshops to any interested community groups until the end of October. They will cover an introduction to marine pests, marine pest impacts in Northland, where marine pests prefer to live, as well as how to identify and report them.

Key topics include how to identify the top six worst marine pests - the Northern Pacific Sea Star, European Shore Crab, Chinese Mitten Crab, Asian Clam, a bright green marine algae called Caulerpa taxifolia and the Mediterranean fanworm.

"Marine pests can arrive in Northland via ballast water, poorly maintained boats and slow-moving vessels, so it's important that anyone using our coast ensures their vessel hull is clean when they arrive, and leave," she said.

The NRC wants to encourage regular users of the marine environment to be vigilant. Ms Fulcher said reporting anything different in the marine environment is also really important - noting where you saw it, taking a photograph or collecting a sample and calling the free Ministry for Primary Industries' number 0800 80 99 66.

A marine pest workshop is being offered in Kaitaia on Tuesday from 2.30pm-4.30pm at the Department of Conservation office, 25 Matthews Avenue. Contact Jillian Fulcher on 0800 002 004 to register, or to express interest in another Northland workshop.

- Northern Advocate

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