07 October 2005

Calling all divers - Help stop marine pest spread

Marine pests are spreading around the world, hitching a ride on your boat, trailer or dive gear. But, you can help stop them before they establish in healthy waters causing permanent damage to marine life.

Project AWARE aims to stem the tide with the new 6Ds campaign for divers, boaters and water enthusiasts. These six simple steps can help reduce the spread of marine pests.

What are marine pests?
They are creatures that are non-native to our marine environment. These animals and plants range from microscopic dinoflagellates through to large species of seaweed, jellyfish, shells, crabs and starfish. They have the potential to seriously affect habitats, food chains, the ecosystem, marine industries and our enjoyment of the marine environment. Not every single one of them is dangerous. In fact the majority aren’t dangerous to our eco-systems. But some marine pests are and they’re the ones that can dominate in their new home and feed on or compete with native species for food or shelter.

How do they get there?
Introduced marine pests invade our waters by hitching a ride in ballast water or on the hulls and other parts of international ships. They can also travel in the bilge water or attached to hulls of international small boats such as yachts and pleasure craft. Imported aquarium or aquaculture species can also become marine pests if released into our waters.

What's the solution? Prevention is better than cure
You can help by taking care they don't hitch-a-ride with you by following the six simple steps to keep your boat and gear clean.

Remember, we can all keep an eye out for new species in our local waters. The diving community plays an important role in detecting marine pests early enough for eradication to be feasible. You can become familiar with the marine animals and plants at your dive locations and notice any species that have not been there before. If you think you've spotted a marine pest, take a photo of the animal and call your local authority.

Download our information sheet and poster to find out ways you can deter the spread of these pests.

For Further Information

If you would like further information on what Australian Governments, industries and the community are doing to stop the spread of marine pests, visit www.affa.gov.au

If you would like further information on introduced marine pest species in Australia: visit http://www.marine.csiro.au/crimp/nimpis.

For further information about Marine Pests and identification in NSW visit the NSW Department for Primary Industries

For further information in Western Australia visit the Department of Fisheries

Source: www.projectaware.org


At 8:15 AM, Anonymous Gerry Gibberer said...

Sometimes these government authorities are their own worst enemies. After making several reports of Caulerpa taxifolia from Sydney and elsewhere along the NSW coast, and having received no reply from the NSW Government's marine pests management unit in Nelson Bay, I've given up. It's an important issue, but without even the courtesy of an acknowledgement, it makes you wonder why you bother.


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