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Quest for marine pest at Prom's Refuge Cove

Tuesday 11 September, 2018

The invasive marine pest Undaria pinnatifida, commonly known as Japanese Kelp or Wakame, was recently discovered at Port Welshpool, South Gippsland during routine marine patrols.

The introduced marine weed was previously restricted to Port Phillip Bay and the harbour at Apollo Bay which now represents an expansion of the pest weed eastwards along the Victorian coast.

Parks Victoria rangers are concerned it may spread to the pristine waters of Wilsons Promontory National Park, in particular areas such as Refuge Cove which is popular with recreational boats.

A team of marine rangers will be surveying Refuge Cove this week with a series of dives and will be equipped with an underwater camera vehicle.

Marine pests like Undaria are able to quickly attach to vessel hulls, ropes or equipment that have been in the water. Additionally, in the early growth stages, they can be too small to see, so boat operators may not even know they’re transporting them.

Stopping the spread of marine pests such as Undaria is the best way of limiting their impact. Everyone can help to prevent the spread of marine pests by practicing good boat hygiene.

Remember the check, clean, dry approach:

  • Check your vessel and equipment for pests regularly
  • Clean it with fresh-water to eliminate any you can’t see
  • Dry it thoroughly before moving to a new marine location

Suspected sightings of marine pests outside of their known range can be reported to or 136186.  Reports should include a photograph, location and date of sighting.

Quotes, attributed to Parks Victoria Statewide Marine Leader Nicole Filby

Undaria is an invasive pest plant which can have an impact on our amazing marine ecosystem. It can be easily established within new coastal areas and quickly outcompete with our native kelp.”

“If established, it means the unique diversity of plants and animals in the local waters can suffer.”

“Parks Victoria rangers will this week determine if any traces of Undaria are found near Wilsons Promontory National Park and put in steps to manage the infestation.”

Media enquiries
Melanie McVey-Di Lazzaro
0459 818 451

Parks Victoria media centre