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Jan Feb 2015 Marina World

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Hazelett Marine

Hazelett Marine Conservation Elastic Mooring Systems For Yachts and Docks Quality solutions for any size marina. Tel: (305) 300-9596 Miami, Florida, USA 135 West Lakeshore Drive, PO Box 600 Colchester, Vermont 05446-0600 EMAIL: TELEPHONE: (802) 863-6376 FAX: (802) 863-1523

ENVIRONMENTAL MEASURES A pioneering Pathway plan Fiordland in the south-western corner of the South Island of New Zealand is as beautiful as it is remote. The west coast is deeply indented by 14 fiords (fjords) spanning 215km of coastline and is an idyllic destination for any yacht owner. But will the owner be leaving behind an environmental hazard In April 2014, the Fiordland Marine Pathways Management Plan Steering Group met for the first time. They had been tasked to develop a plan to minimise the risk of marine pests being transported into the Fiordland (Te Moana o Atawhenua) Marine Area (FMA) on vessel hulls and gear. Representatives from Environment Southland (ES), the Fiordland Marine Guardians (Guardians), the Ministry for Primary Industry (MPI), the Department of Conservation (DOC) and advisors with specialist knowledge formed the steering group. During the very first meeting a report came in of a motor yacht heading to Fiordland with small patches of the Mediterranean fanworm Sabella spallanzanii attached to its hull. It was completely by chance that this harmful marine pest was discovered at all and it was incredibly lucky that the diver who was checking the hull for fuel efficiency recognised it so that it could be cleaned off. If the check had not been made, Sabella might now be settling within Fiordland’s special sheltered inner fiords with potentially devastating impact. Vessels and their gear provide the major pathway for marine pests to reach the FMA – and all types of vessel can be involved, from large tourist vessels through to small trailer boats. At least Sabella was only a scare. Not so the Japanese kelp Undaria pinnatafida, where a single mature specimen was found on a barge mooring line in remote Sunday Cove, Breaksea Sound, in April 2010. Since then, there has been a concentrated effort to locally eliminate Undaria from the site that has involved diving teams making trips every month and the removal of approximately 1,900 plants. The Undaria response programme is scheduled to continue until July 2015 and is looking very promising. However, the Undaria response has shown just how resource-intensive responding to a marine pest can be after it has arrived. Armed with the knowledge that the key objective was to prevent pests getting into the area in the first place, the group started work on the pathway plan by focusing on cleaning standards. In September 2014, group members and advisors with tourist, commercial and recreational fishing knowledge and experience, spent two days considering ways to reinforce the clean vessel message and ensure vessels entering or residing in the FMA are meeting the clean vessels standards. They wanted a provision that would require minimum effort on the part of the vessel owners/ operators, involve no cost (to the A battle to keep marine pests away from the pristine Fiordland waters is high priority for South Island government and environment groups. applicant), be easily acquired, easily administered and be effective in the isolated Fiordland environment. The result was the Fiordland Clean Vessel Pass concept. The pass, required for all vessels wishing to enter the FMA, would consist of a statement from vessel owners/operators that they had read and understood their responsibilities in relation to ensuring their vessel met ‘clean vessel, niche area and gear standards’. Passes would be automatically generated upon completion of a form on a designated website where advice about cleaning methods and facilities would also be available. What’s next To draft a proposal for consideration by ES, the steering group must meet the Pathway Management Plan provisions defined in the Biosecurity Act 1993. Given this is the first Pathway Management Plan proposal, there are likely to be policy and implementation issues to resolve along the way. But the group hopes to deliver the proposal to ES by June/July 2015. If the Council decides to proceed with the draft plan, it may carry out formal consultation. Once the Council requirements are met, the plan can be put into action. A vessel heavily fouled with Undaria; a pest that is time consuming and expensive to eradicate. Photo: Lesley Patston, MPI - January/February 2015 49

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