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Boaties beware of the Port Phillip ‘Sushi-monster’ - It’s a real pest!

Thursday 22 November, 2012

The Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) and Parks Victoria are calling on boat owners in Port Phillip Bay to keep their hulls clean this summer, after a boat was found carrying the invasive seaweed Undaria pinnatifida (best known as Wakame, an ingredient in Japanese cooking).

DSE Marine Policy Officer John Barker said: “Spring and Summer are the peak growing seasons for Undaria and it would only take one boat with its anti-fouling paint in poor condition to spread the pest seaweed even further along Victoria’s coast.”

“Last week a boat with its anti-fouling paint in poor condition was found at Warrnambool with Undaria growing on it,” Mr Barker said.

“With the co-operation of the Warrnambool harbour manager, the vessel has been removed from the water and all Undaria removed before it spread through the Port of Warrnambool. The owner will apply new antifouling paint to this boat..”

“The successful clean-up was a great result because this incident could easily have led to a new outbreak of the pest in South-western Victoria.”

“Had it not been for the community and Government agencies keeping an eye out for potential problems the outcome could have been very different.”

Parks Victoria’s Manager Marine Science Steffan Howe said: “Undaria is established in Port Phillip Bay and Apollo Bay harbour and we are taking action to prevent it from spreading.”

“It is a fast growing marine pest and poses a threat to the marine environment of the Otway coast, including marine protected areas such as the Marengo Reefs and Twelve Apostles Marine National Park,” Dr Howe said.

“We need the community and particularly boat users to be vigilant, especially when boats are travelling from Port Phillip Bay or Apollo Bay to other parts of the Victorian coast.”

Vessels departing from these locations should check that the antifouling paint is in good condition and the hull and wet areas are free of marine growth.

“Any sightings of Undaria outside Port Phillip Bay and Apollo Bay such as along beaches should also be reported to DSE or Parks Victoria.”

For more information call DSE on 136 186 or visit www.dse.vic.gov.au/marinepests.

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