Biosecurity campaign raises awareness of marine pests

PESTS: Boaties are urged to report sightings of marine pests to Biosecurity Queensland.
PESTS: Boaties are urged to report sightings of marine pests to Biosecurity Queensland.

BOATIES have been urged to look out for pests in the waterways as Biosecurity Queensland launches a new marine security campaign.

Biosecurity Queensland has developed the Marine Pest Prevention and Preparedness Education and Awareness Campaign to increase industry and public knowledge of marine biosecurity.

Of the most concern is the Asian green mussel, black striped false mussel, Asian bag mussel, brown mussel, Harris mud crab, Chinese mitten crab and Japanese seaweed, species which were deemed the most likely to arrive and establish in Queensland.

Marina and slipway operators, ports, commercial divers, tourism operators, commercial fishers, recreational boaties, fishers and volunteer community groups are urged to help minimise the threat of invasive marine species.

Fisheries Minister Mark Furner said protecting Queensland's fisheries against invasive marine pests was an important step to protecting Queensland jobs.

"Both our commercial fishers and our recreational fishers depend on resources that belong to us all," Mr Furner said.

"That's why we are building a legacy of a sustainable fishery for our children and grandchildren, so we can all enjoy fishing the jobs it generates for many years to come."

Mr Furner said a marine pest detection response kit, including equipment and information, had been developed to build the practical capability of stakeholders to respond to a suspected marine pest.

"These kits will be distributed to ports, marinas, slipway operators and volunteer community groups," he said.

"Marine biosecurity officers will also attend stakeholder meetings to boost their risk mitigation capabilities."

Mr Furner said although Queensland currently had no known established marine pests, it was important for people to remain vigilant.

"Early detection and reporting of such marine pests is vital," he said.

"If we know where a marine pest is early, our chances of stopping any spread and eradicating are vastly improved.

"It's critical that every Queenslander plays their part and those who use our marine environments are aware of marine pest risks, know how to implement marine pest mitigation best practices and learn how to report a suspected marine pest."