How can marine pests find their way into Fiordland waters?
Keeping marine pests out of Fiordland waters means finding out how they might make their way into the area in the first place. It is well known that vessel hulls, niche areas (such as anchor wells and sea chests) and gear (such as ropes, floats and fishing gear) provide the surfaces onto which marine pests can attach. Once attached, the pests go where the vessels go! Clearly vessels of all types and sizes heading into Fiordland present “pathways” that risk delivering unwanted organisms into the pristine marine environment.
How to prevent pests from using “pathways”
In 2012 an amendment to the Biosecurity Act, 1993 meant that Marine Pathway Management Plans could be developed. This new tool allows the risk of marine pests to be removed before they reach an area rather than after they have arrived and been discovered, as is the current situation. It should prove a much more cost effective way of dealing with marine pests “prevention is better than cure”
In March 2014, Environment Southland approved a proposal for a Fiordland Marine Pathway Management Plan using the same co-operative approach as the Undaria response that has been operating successfully since 2010. This Guardians/joint agency approach was initially put in place during the development of the Fiordland Marine Conservation Strategy (1995 - 2003).
Who’s developing the draft Pathway Plan?
A Fiordland Marine Pathway Plan Steering Group was formed in April this year comprising representatives of the Guardians (Rebecca McLeod), Oraka Aparima runanga (Stewart Bull), Environment Southland (Derek Richards), Ministry for Primary Industries - Biosecurity (Jen Brunton), Ministry for Primary Industries - Fisheries (Stephen Logie), Department of Conservation (Richard Kinsey) and Laurel Teirney who worked with the original Guardians and compiled the Fiordland Marine Conservation Strategy.
The Steering Group has documented a process for developing a draft Pathway Plan that is being progressed by a number of workshops. The Steering Group is drawing on additional expertise to tease out the issues and possibilities. To date there have been two workshops, April and July.
Getting the message out and encouraging feedback
After each workshop the Steering Group is committed to producing an Update to inform vessel owners/operators and others who are passionate about Fiordland of how the Pathway Plan is progressing and to seek views and feedback.
We were very encouraged by the positive feedback received to Update # 1 released in July (Introducing the initiative). Update # 2 (Marine Pathway Management Plans) was released in August.
The Guardians’ Website - a perfect way of connecting all involved
“Keeping Pests Out” has been created as a dedicated page on the Guardians’ website. Updates covering each aspect of the process will be posted on this page so they are easily accessed. This is one way the Steering Group hopes to involve interested parties both locally and further afield in order to inform, canvass views and integrate ideas from vessel operators heading into Fiordland.
“Keeping Pests Out” (http://www.fmg.org.nz/content/keeping-pests-out)
Make those hits count for keeping pests out of our precious Fiordland waters!
Rebecca McLeod, Guardians Representative on Pest Pathway Plan Steering Group.