Environment Southland has taken top honours in the 2018 New Zealand Biosecurity Awards for its Fiordland Marine Pathway Management Plan.

The awards were presented at a function during the annual Biosecurity Forum in Auckland this week.

A project group developed the Fiordland Marine Regional Pathway Management Plan to reduce the risk of vessels moving in and out of the Fiordland Marine Area bringing unwanted marine pests with them, by minimising the pathways for pests.

The plan, which was developed under the Biosecurity Act 1993, was the first of its kind in New Zealand.

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It put in place rules for all vessels entering the area and required them to obtain a clean vessel pass, ensuring they knew and mitigated any risks.

The plan was formally adopted and implemented in April 2017. It required a significant degree of voluntary compliance, along with a more formal compliance programme, which was carried out through a joint-agency arrangement.

Environment Southland was responsible for administering the plan although it was a collaborative approach involving the Ministry for Primary Industries, Department of Conservation and Fiordland Marine Guardians.

The Minister's Biosecurity Award was presented to Bay of Plenty Regional Council biosecurity manager Greg Corbett.

Biosecurity Minister Damien O'Connor said Mr Corbett has shown leadership ''from the grass-roots up'' for more than 35 years, protecting farms, forests and waterways from animal pests since 1983.

Dr Amanda Black, a principal research officer with the Bio-Protection Research Centre, based at Lincoln University, won the AsureQuality emerging leader award.

She has been researching whether the fragmentation of kauri forests had helped to spread kauri dieback, the disease ravaging kauri forests.

The Morven Action Group, formed in the wake of the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak, was a finalist in the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) Industry Award.

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The group was put together by Morven dairy farmer Hugh Le Fleming and Veterinary Centre Oamaru with the aim of finding pragmatic ways farmers could protect themselves from the bacterial cattle disease.

The group sought out best practice information to make a checklist and biosecurity action plan farmers could use.