The suspected occurrence of an invasive sea squirt in southern NSW and its implications for coastal management.
Creese, B., Glasby, T and Walker, M., 2010. The suspected occurrence of an invasive sea squirt in southern NSW and its implications for coastal management. Presentation given at the 19th NSW Coastal Conference ("Coastal Management – all aboard, making it work!"), 10 – 12 November 2010, Batemans Bay, NSW, Australia.
In early March 2010, an encrusting sea squirt was reported from several wharf pilings in Twofold Bay on the far south coast of NSW. This species bore a close resemblance to an invasive species that has caused major environmental and economic damage in North America, Europe and New Zealand. Because of this impact, the species had been listed on the Australian trigger list for marine pests. Initial investigation suggested that the sea squirt from Twofold Bay might be this listed pest, and an emergency response was initiated. Underwater surveys along the NSW south coast suggested that it was limited in distribution to Twofold Bay. Here, it was recorded commonly on some wharf pilings and mussel farm infrastructure, but only occasionally on natural rock surfaces. Movement controls were put in place to reduce the risk of spreading the species to other locations in Australia and a control plan was developed. However, subsequent genetic testing showed that it was not the invasive pest species and the emergency response was quickly cancelled.
A rapid and effective response to this incident was greatly assisted by the willing cooperation and support from numerous agencies and the general public. Similar support has also been evident in attempts to study and control other marine pests on the NSW south coast. These examples highlight the importance of effective engagement and collaboration from all stakeholders in dealing with marine pests in the coastal zone.