Assessing likelihoods of marine pest introductions in Sydney estuaries: A transport vector approach.
No matter how much effort goes into protecting our borders from marine pests, some will inevitably slip through and become established, either from domestic or international sources (so-called transport vectors). But a crucial factor in being able to eradicate or control any pest is early detection, which means knowing where to look for them. This project aimed to determine the likelihood that marine pests could be transported to and invade Sydney estuaries and thereby help to focus future pest monitoring programs. The international transport vectors considered were commercial shipping and recreational boating, while domestic vectors included shipping, boating, aquaculture stock movements, commercial fishing and natural currents. Some 30 potential marine pests, many not yet found in Australia, have been included in a national “trigger list” and these were the focus of this study. In addition, we determined which overseas ports are environmentally similar to Sydney ports and well connected by ships, meaning we could identify places that could be sources of as yet unknown pests. Here we outline our assessment methodology, describe which estuaries are at the greatest risk of invasion by marine pests, and identify which of the nationally-listed marine pests are most likely to invade, and from where.