New Zealand has become the first country in the world to introduce biofouling rules across the nation’s waters.
“About 90% of non-indigenous marine species in New Zealand, such as Mediterranean fanworm, Japanese kelp and Australian droplet tunicate, arrived on international vessels. These incursions harm our aquaculture industries, fisheries and native marine ecosystems,” said minister of biosecurity Damien O’Connor.
Under the new biofouling rules, operators must prove they’ve taken appropriate steps to ensure international vessels arrive with a clean hull. Biosecurity New Zealand officers will take a hard line on vessels that can’t provide evidence they meet the rules. Divers will carry out inspections of hulls.
Officers will also have the power to direct vessels for cleaning and order the vessel to leave New Zealand if the fouling is severe.
“I strongly encourage all international vessel operators to make sure they know the rules before they arrive in New Zealand,” O’Connor said.