Caulerpa taxifolia (Caulerpa) is a bright green, fast growing alga that originates from tropical areas of the Indo-Pacific, including northern Australia. It is not native to NSW (except Lord Howe Island).
It was first identified in Port Hacking in 2000 and is now found in 14 estuaries and coastal lakes throughout NSW.
Once a popular aquarium plant, Caulerpa is now banned in NSW from possession and sale.
Caulerpa is a marine pest due to its hardy nature and ease of translocation. The species has caused severe impacts in the Mediterranean and when first detected in NSW it was feared that similar aquatic habitat impacts would be possible.
Fifteen years of scientific observations and published research into Caulerpa in NSW indicate that the impacts on native seagrasses are not as severe as once thought.
As a result of these findings, management practices have changed.