Sabella Management Programme
Nelson City Council (The Council) has declared by public notice, dated 1 July 2017 (refer below) a small-scale management programme (SSMP) under Section 100V of the Biosecurity Act 1993 (the Act)1. This SSMP relates to the unwanted organism and marine pest Mediterranean fanworm (Sabella spallanzanii), known as Sabella.
Sabella is an introduced, tube-dwelling fanworm that attaches itself to natural and artificial surfaces (eg, rocks, vessels and structures) in subtidal marine environments. Since 2008 it has become well established in many parts of the country (Whangarei, Waitemata, Lyttelton and Tauranga Harbours and on the Coromandel Peninsula). Surveillance in the Top of the South (TOS)2 area from 2013 onwards has found Sabella on commercial and recreational vessels and marine structures. It is poised to spread to marine farms and into natural ecosystems. Co-ordinated and timely responses are required to slow and contain the spread.
Sabella has been found at locations in Picton/Waikawa (Marlborough), Tarakohe (Tasman) and Nelson Haven (Nelson City Council) and may already occur undetected at other locations. Infestations have been suppressed to date, by physical removal of fanworms where found, and some vessels have been treated. Responses have been led by the TOS councils, the Top of the South Marine Biosecurity Partnership (TOSMBP) and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).
The implementation of this SSMP is as an interim measure that will ultimately lead to the inclusion of Sabella as a declared pest in the Regional Pest Management Plan for Nelson, and possibly the creation of a regional (or inter-regional) pathway management plan3.