Fiordland’s marine waters are an environmental treasure and provide a fantastic boating and diving opportunities. But they’re vulnerable to the introduction of harmful marine pests and diseases hitchhiking on vessel hulls and marine equipment. Already an area in the remote Sunday Cove, Breaksea Sound has been affected, with the discovery of a population of the invasive pest seaweed Undaria. A huge effort by the Ministry for Primary Industries, Department of Conservation, Environment Southland, and the Fiordland Marine Guardians is currently underway to get rid of this pest; we don’t want any further situations like this to threaten the area.
If you’re planning a trip to Fiordland this summer, help protect this precious place from further threats:
- Check your vessel’s hull before travel, and if it’s fouled, clean it.
- Ensure your antifouling paint is thoroughly applied and effective.
- Check, clean and dry any mooring lines and buoys, kayaks and any other marine equipment before using in Fiordland’s waters.
- Remove all marine debris such as weeds from diving gear and rinse and soak gear in fresh water. Allow to air dry for a few days if possible.
- Keep an eye out for any unusual marine life or events such as mass deaths of fish. Note the location, take a sample if you can and immediately call MPI’s freephone 0800 80 99 66.
It is hoped that soon Fiordland will once again be free of Undaria. This will be significant for the area’s unique marine biodiversity, as well as being very important in protecting its commercial, recreational and cultural uses. Full information is at www.biosecurity.govt.nz/fiordland
Jen Brunton, MPI, Wellington