Northlanders can have their say on whether a single set of vessel hull cleaning rules should be developed to help stop the spread of marine pests across New Zealand's four busiest boating regions.
For several years, the Northland, Auckland, Bay of Plenty and Waikato regions – alongside Biosecurity New Zealand and boaties from all over – have been working together to stop the spread of unwanted marine pests such as Mediterranean fanworm hitchhiking on vessel hulls.
The Northland Regional Council (NRC) says while Biosecurity New Zealand (a business unit of the Ministry for Primary Industries) manages national rules to minimise the risk of new pest species arriving on vessels from overseas, the regulations for (mainly Kiwi-based) vessels moving around within coastal waters vary from region to region.
Council biosecurity manager Dom McKenzie says there are a number of potential options ranging from a requirement for a clean hull at all times, only when moving or only when moving to specially identified places, and each option has its pros and cons.
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If new rules were to be proposed, each council would also need to consider things such as roles and responsibilities, where the costs should lie, and how these should be funded.
McKenzie said the four northern councils are wanting to hear what their respective local communities think before advancing the hull cleaning initiative further.
"We'd like to encourage as many people as possible to take this unusual opportunity to have a say on a local authority issue that traverses several regions."
A discussion document outlining the different options, including their pros and cons, can be found on the Bionet website, along with the opportunity to give feedback online: www.bionet.nz
The two-month feedback period runs until May 24.
Background information about a variety of marine – and other pests – is available online via www.nrc.govt.nz/pestcontrolhub