A pest survey boat on the Kaipara Harbour

Harbour pests surveyed

by Paul Campbell

A major survey of marine pests in the Kaipara Harbour has been carried out by biosecurity experts from NIWA in a joint agency exercise, with the results now being collated and expected to be released by September.

Two Niwa craft have been a common sight on the harbour in the past few weeks, carrying out the survey for Auckland Council, Northland Regional Council and the Ministry for Primary Industries.

“The last marine biosecurity pest survey was conducted in the Kaipara Harbour in 2006 by MPI, so the purpose of this survey is to increase our knowledge of the current marine pest situation,” said an Auckland Council spokesman.

The latest probe has used a variety of methods to detect a range of marine pests including diver searches, crab traps, seafloor sampling and shore searches.

Known scallop beds were avoided during sampling.

The focus was on detecting marine pests in high-risk areas of the harbour, for example; on or near artificial structures — samples of marine pests and other suspect animals or plants for identification by taxonomists where their identity is unknown.

“The results of the survey will be communicated once all collected samples have been identified, with the goal of doing this by the end of September 2019.“

Additional information on all aspects of marine pest surveys can be found at marinebiosecurity.org.nz/what-are-marine-pests.