• Mediterranean marine pest found on boat hull in Westshore

Mediterranean marine pest found on boat hull in Westshore

Hawke's Bay Regional Council is concerned a Mediterranean marine pest has been found on a boat hull in Westshore and is warning boaties to keep their boat hulls clean.

Regional Council Manager Catchment Services Campbell Leckie says Mediterranean fanworm poses a threat to the region.

“Mediterranean fanworm was found on a vessel in Napier and has now been removed with the boat hull wrapped for cleaning,” says Mr Leckie.

It’s a pest because it can breed prolifically, out-compete native species for food and space, and is able to survive in a range of habitats.

“As a pest, the fanworm is a threat to our region’s commercial and recreational fisheries, as well as the marine environment such as Pania Reef."

Marine pests are often spread on boat hulls, which is why the Regional Council is asking people to make sure they’ve got clean hulls.

”We want to keep our waters safe from these pests and are asking boaties to give us a hand. Checking boat hulls and keeping them clean is the best way to protect Hawke’s Bay waters from unwanted pests.”

A high resolution shot of the marine pest. Photo/Northland Regional Council.

The Hawke’s Bay Regional Pest Management Plan has a ‘clean hull’ rule, which means that vessels entering Hawke’s Bay regional waters must have a sufficiently cleaned and anti-fouled hull so there is no more than a no slime layer and/or goose barnacles.

“As we come into summer the threat of boats spreading marine pests gets higher. We’ve seen people sticking to the clean hull rule which has been great, but the big push is for people returning or coming in from out of the region because they pose the biggest risk. We do random hull checks throughout the year, helping us to check people are following the rules,” says Mr Leckie.

“Everyone plays their part in marine biosecurity and keeping our waters safe. Preventing pests coming in here is way easier than trying to get rid of them.”

If anyone thinks they have seen one of these creatures on a boat or structure, they can contact the Regional Council on 06 835 9200 with details and photos.

People are urged not to touch the pests themselves as in some cases this can cause them to ‘spawn’ or release reproductive material or may break off pieces of the pest which can then reproduce.