Nelson is currently at COVID Alert Level 2. Learn about our services during this time.

Marine Biosecurity

Invasive marine pests are a threat to Nelson’s coastal environment and the aquaculture industry across the top of the South Island. The invasive species can fall into two categories: fouling species (such as the clubbed tunicate Styela clava and Mediterranean fanworm Sabella spallanzanii) and exotic diseases (such as Bonamia ostrae) that can infect fish or shellfish.

Invasive marine pests are a threat to Nelson’s coastal environment and the aquaculture industry across the top of the South Island. The invasive species can fall into two categories: fouling species (such as the clubbed tunicate Styela clava and Mediterranean fanworm Sabella spallanzanii) and exotic diseases (such as Bonamia ostrae) that can infect fish or shellfish.

Managing marine pests are far more complex than terrestrial pest species given the nature of the marine environment.

At the New Zealand border, Biosecurity New Zealand/Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), are charged with minimising the risk of marine pests new to New Zealand making their way through. Within New Zealand, some marine pests are only established in specific parts of the country and the various regions, in conjunction with MPI, are working to keep them only to those regions.

The Council works closely with partners through the Top of the South Marine Biosecurity Partnership to manage the threat of marine pests. Council is also actively implementing an operational programme of surveillance and response aimed at preventing the establishment of Mediterranean fanworm in particular.  Since 2015 the Partnership has been conducting in-water surveys of recreational boats in the Top of the South region to check for marine pests, assess levels of boat fouling, and to check for pests on adjacent structures like swing moorings and jetties. The results, as well as other information relating to marine biosecurity in the region, are available at www.marinebiosecurity.co.nz