Pest Prevention

Photograph of undaria caught in a net on a boat.There are a number of ways that marine pests can be introduced into Australian waters. One of these is when international ships exchange their ballast water in our waters. In 2001, mandatory ballast water management requirements for international shipping were introduced to reduce the likelihood of marine pest introductions. In addition to these measures, the Department is working with Commonwealth, State and NT governments to implement a national system for the prevention and management of marine pest incursions.

The national system has three major components:
  1. prevention (obviously the most effective method);
  2. emergency response (developing a coordinated response if a new pest is introduced); and
  3. ongoing management and control of marine pests already in Australia to minimise their impacts.
Introduced species may be spread by recreational vessels either attached to the hull, in gear or areas that are not cleaned and dried thoroughly. Microscopic algal spores and tiny eggs floating in water in the bottom of your boat can stay alive for months. In mooring areas and marinas, boat hulls can quickly become infested which can result in the rapid spreading of pests around the state.

You can help!

  • Remove all pieces of weed and fish from your boat or trailer.
  • Drain bilge, hulls, buckets, gear etc. and let them dry.
  • Hose all gear, boat and trailer with high pressure fresh water.
  • If fresh water wash-down facilities are not available on site, ensure all gear is washed well away from streams and watercourses (including stormwater drains) that may transport spores.
  • Wash dive gear thoroughly with freshwater, particularly if you visit an infected site or area.
  • Don't release aquarium plants or fish into the environment.

See the Anti-fouling and in-water cleaning guidelines on the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website. The guidelines apply to vessels and moveable structures such as oil and other exploration rigs, floating dry docks, pontoons, aquaculture installations and navigational structures.