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Invasive marine pests on the menu for Port Phillip boaties this summer

Wednesday 12 December, 2012

The Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) and Parks Victoria are encouraging Port Phillip Bay boat owners to join the fight to stop invasive marine pests from spreading this summer.

DSE Marine Policy Officer John Barker said: “There are over a hundred introduced marine species found in Port Phillip Bay that are not yet widespread.”

“The most serious pests are the Northern Pacific Seastars (Asterias amurensis), the invasive seaweed Undaria pinnatifida (best known as Wakame, an ingredient in Japanese cooking) and the European Fanworm (Sabella spallanzanii). It’s important that boaties take precautions to reduce the risk of spreading these pests,” Mr Barker said.

“Undaria and Northern Pacific Seastars could have a big impact on Victoria’s marine ecosystems and so we want everyone who has a boat moored in Port Phillip Bay and Apollo Bay to clean their hulls and other gear that has been left in the water before they travel down the coast.”

“Spring and Summer are the peak growing and breeding seasons for Undaria and Northern Pacific Seastars and it would only take one boat to discharge pests in ballast water, or travel with anti-fouling paint in poor condition to spread these pests even further along Victoria’s coast.”

Some of the precautions that owners of moored boats can take before leaving the Bay include: 

  • Dislodge and bin anything growing on the hull (including plants)
  • Drain water from the boat and gear (don’t let water from the Bay drain into new coastal locations)
  • Apply an approved anti-fouling paint where needed

Precautions that trailer boat owners can take include:

  • Wash down with freshwater after use
  • Dry your boat and equipment before use in locations outside the Bay

Parks Victoria’s Manager Marine Science Steffan Howe said:“Undaria, European Fanworm and Northern Pacific Seastars are fast growing marine pests that pose a threat to the marine environment including Otway coast marine protected areas, Wilson Promontory and Western Port.”

“Boats are a major factor in spreading invasive marine pests and we need everyone who is taking a boat out of Port Phillip Bay and Apollo Bay this summer to be vigilant. Any sightings of Undaria outside Port Phillip Bay and Apollo Bay, or sightings of Northern Pacific Seastars outside of Port Phillip Bay should be reported to DSE or Parks Victoria,” Dr Howe said.

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

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