Simulation to test plans for North Island didymo detection

29 May 2007

Biosecurity New Zealand will run a didymo North Island find simulation exercise based in Taupo on Thursday 31 May.

Biosecurity New Zealand didymo response manager Chris Bicknell said the purpose of the exercise was to test and refine existing response plans, to clarify the roles and responsibilities of various organisations in the event of a North Island find, and to raise awareness in the North Island of the threat of didymo.

“Biosecurity New Zealand’s response to didymo has focused on slowing the spread in the South Island, and protecting the North Island as long as we can. We have to plan for such an event, and along with our partner organisations, a lot of work has been put into it. Testing how it works is a necessary part of the process to allow us to iron out any wrinkles there might be.

“While didymo has yet to be detected in the North Island, it is not just a South Island problem, and would thrive in some parts of the North Island if introduced there. It’s best to assume that nowhere is safe and clean your gear regardless of location and perceived didymo risk. We are slowing it down, and we’ve protected the North Island as much as we are able, but at the end of the day we still need everyone to help.”

The simulation will be focused on a waterway in the Horizons-Manawatu regional boundary with more details to be given to participants late the day before. The simulation will begin at 9am.

Didymo is currently known to be in 52 rivers and five lakes in the South Island, covering nine catchments.

Media contact: Phil Barclay, Biosecurity New Zealand Senior Communications Adviser, 029 894 0432

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