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18 October 2005
Biosecurity New Zealand is taking action to ensure yachts leaving Auckland's
Waitemata Harbour as part of this weekend's HSBC Coastal Classic yacht race are
free of the invasive seasquirt, the clubbed tunicate.
More than 230 yachts are expected to set out on the annual event from the
Waitemata Harbour to Russell in the Bay of Islands this Friday 21 October. A
number of these vessels are expected to remain in the Bay of Islands for the
Biosecurity New Zealand's Senior Marine Adviser Brendan Gould says it's
important to establish the yachts are clean before they leave Auckland, to
ensure the seasquirt is not spread from the Waitemata area where its presence
has been confirmed.
An operation is underway to contact all yachties registered for the race and
speak to them about the cleanliness of their hulls. It is known that the clubbed
tunicate is most easily spread on heavily contaminated hulls.
Mr Gould says Biosecurity New Zealand is asking all race entrants a few
questions to establish the condition of their vessel's hull.
"Vessels that we class as high-risk on the basis of those questions will be
inspected by divers.
"Boats that have received anti-fouling paint in the past nine months, or have
been physically cleaned in the last two weeks will not require inspection," Mr
Biosecurity New Zealand says where possible, fouling will be removed by
divers following any inspection.
Mr Gould says that given these boats are racing yachts, it's unlikely many
will be heavily fouled.
"Competitive yachties are usually very aware of boat cleanliness and they
won't want heavy fouling increasing their drag," Mr Gould says.
Biosecurity New Zealand says the race organisers have been very supportive in
"They have provided us with a full list of phone numbers and email addresses
of all entrants so that we can make contact."
However, Mr Gould says it's important that if any yachties registered in the
race don't hear from Biosecurity New Zealand, they contact the agency through
its 0800 number: 0800 80 99 66.
Biosecurity New Zealand is also urging other members of the yachting and
boating fraternity to inspect their boats.
"We're aware that this weekend is the informal start to the summer boating
season and it's really important that boaties ensure their boats are clean. The
invasive seasquirt, the clubbed tunicate, needs a dirty boat to hang onto, and
if hulls are kept clean, the seasquirt won't be transferred.
For further information, please contact:
Lesley Patston, Senior Communications Adviser, Ph. 027 205-1418
Phil Barclay, Senior communications Adviser, Ph. 027 229-9145