Marine Biosecurity

There are a number of pest invaders that threaten the Marlborough Sounds' coastal environment and aquaculture industry.

Pest invaders fall into two categories: Fouling species that compete with marine life for resources and space; or exotic diseases that infect fish and shellfish.

The Marlborough District Council works closely with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), neighbouring councils and marine industry groups in the Top of the South Marine Biosecurity Partnership to protect the sounds from these pests.

The key threat comes from fouling organisms such as the sea squirt (Styela clava) and Mediterranean fanworm (Sabella spallanzanii).

These are established elsewhere in New Zealand and are rapidly finding their way to the sounds by hitchhiking on the bottom of boats.

Unfortunately Styela clava is now well-established in Picton and Waikawa, but council and other agencies are working together to keep the spread under control and detect any new arrivals.

To stop any further spread, make sure your boat hull is clean before travelling to other parts of the Marlborough Sounds and antifoul your hull once a year.

Ideally, there should be no more than a light slime layer at any time. If you think you have found a marine pest call the MPI Hotline: 0800 809 966.