PICTURED: Australian droplet tunicate (Eudistoma elongatum)  

Marine pests spread

By . Image credit Shaun Lee. 2017 may

Marine pests appear to be spreading in the Hauraki Gulf. Auckland Council has reported detection of a population of Eudistoma elongatum (Australian droplet tunicate) at Waiheke Island, previously known within Auckland at Mahurangi Harbour and Sandspit. Sabella spallanzanii (Mediterranean fanworm) has been detected at Great Barrier Island, with localised populations at Port Fitzroy and on the hull of a boat at Tryphena harbour.

A Waikato Regional Council survey in 2016 found Sabella within Coromandel harbour and its presence at high densities. The new survey is underway to check 150 random points in and the harbour and remove any organisms found.

Councils are working together with the Ministry of Primary Industries in a Top of the North Marine Biosecurity Partnership and will assess the new information and its implications for future management activities.