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The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts

The Hon Tony Burke MP
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Working with boat owners to help manage marine pests

Joint media Release
25 May 2009

The Rudd Government has released updated information to help fishers, vessel operators and marine aquarium suppliers prevent the spread of marine pests.

 Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke and Environment Minister Peter Garrett said today the resources had been produced in partnership with industry.

They include a new website (www.marinepests.gov.au ), clear national guidelines, a marine pest identification guide and national control plans for established pests.

More than 250 exotic marine plants and animals have been introduced to Australian waters in past decades by commercial ships and yachts.

Key marine pests of concern include the Northern Pacific sea star, European green crab, Asian date mussel, European fan worm, Japanese seaweed and the European clam.

The spread of aquatic microorganisms, algae, plants and animals growing of vessel hulls and submerged surfaces in seawater can be minimised by good vessel maintenance.

These plants and animals can slow vessels down and increase fuel consumption.

Mr Burke said the fishing industry and other marine sectors understood the importance of tackling marine pests.

“Industry and the Government understand that marine pests not only threaten marine ecosystems, but also the $38 billion of economic activity generated from the marine environment,” Mr Burke said.

Mr Garrett said more than 250 exotic marine plants and animals have been introduced to Australian waters by commercial ships and yachts.

“This information will aid the prevention and reduce the spread of invasive species, which can seriously damage ecosystems in our unique marine environment,” Mr Garrett said.

The Australian, state and territory governments are also working with marine industries, scientists and environmental groups to implement the National System for the Prevention and Management of Marine Pest Incursions.

If pests are sighted they should be reported to the local marine authority.

Commonwealth of Australia