MARINE PEST SURVEYS
COMING TO YOUR HARBOUR SOON
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) conducts regular checks
for marine pests in a number of high-risk marine areas around
the country and has been doing so since 2002. The focus of this
surveillance is the early detection of a number of pests that are not
known to be in New Zealand, and we are actively trying to keep out.
WHAT DO WE LOOK FOR?
We target ve species that have considerable harmful impacts
» Northern Pacic seastar, Asterias amurensis
» Asian clam, Potamocorbula amurensis
» European shore crab, Carcinus maenas
» Chinese mitten crab, Eriocheir sinensis
» Aquarium weed,
We also look for any and all new species in these locations, and
established pests with limited distribution, like the Mediterranean
. For more information about what
species we specically target, go to
If these pests were to arrive in New Zealand, they could threaten
our environment, the economy, our sheries, native species or our
enjoyment of our unique coastal and marine areas.
We undertake the surveys twice a year, so that we maximise the
chance of detecting one of these pests early. The faster we nd a
pest the more chance we have to eradicate it before it becomes
In conjunction with MPI, the National Institute for Water and
Atmospheric Research (NIWA) designed the surveys. A number of
different methods are used to sample a wide range of marine plants
and animals, including dive surveys, crab traps,benthic sleds (similar
to a scallop dredge), shoreline searches and crab condos (juvenile
sh and invertebrate settlement devices). Both the crab condos and
the crab traps are deployed underneath surface buoys; these buoys
will be marked NIWA Research with a contact phone number.
The program surveys a number of ports, harbours and marinas around
the country twice a year, including this one. These locations were
chosen because vessels arrive there from overseas.
Marine pests are known to hitch a ride to new locations attached
to vessels hulls or in ballast water. Within each harbour, potential
habitats for the target species are surveyed including wharfs and
oating marinas, breakwalls, rocky reefs, aquaculture structures,
beaches, sand ats and deeper soft sediment areas.
NIWA is contracted to undertake the eld work for MPI. A team
of 5 – 8 NIWA scientists, divers and boat operators undertake the
work at each port, and usually operate out of several small research
boats. Divers are Authorised Persons under the Biosecurity Act 1993
and may physically inspect the hulls of vessels and take samples
of organic material or organisms for further inspection and testing,
under sections 109 and 121 of the Act. All reasonable attempts to
locate the skipper or occupants of the vessel prior to carrying out
these inspections will be made, or written notice will be provided
following the inspection if no such persons can be located.
HOW CAN I FIND OUT THE RESULTS?
stating your port(s) of interest, and
you will be added to an email distribution list, and sent results as
they become available.
The full results for all ports and marinas around the country are
available annually, via our website:
ADDITIONAL INFO AND LINKS
To see more about MPI, go to
To see more about NIWA, go to
To learn more about the distribution of marine pests in NZ, go to
To learn more about regional biosecurity measures, go to
Northland biosecurity information
Top of the South marine biosecurity Partnership
Fiordland marine biosecurity partnership
Southland marine biosecurity
Location Dates Contact
The details of the next survey are:
To report suspected exotic land, freshwater and marine pests, or
exotic dideases in plants or animals, call: 0800 80 99 66