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2 November 2006
The suspect sample from the Rangitikei River is not didymo, MAF Biosecurity
New Zealand announced today.
The sample was tested by NIWA in Christchurch and was found to be
Gomphoneis, a native alga, biosecurity response manager David Hayes
"We commend the person who reported their concern for doing the right
thing and allowing it to be tested. There are a variety of pests and diseases
that threaten New Zealand and they need to be reported to MAF. The
public's four million pairs of eyes play a vitally important role,"
Mr Hayes again encouraged freshwater users to be vigilant and to Check,
Clean and Dry freshwater equipment between waterways regardless of where they
were in New Zealand.
"Although no North Island rivers are known to be affected by didymo,
it is extremely risky to assume any river anywhere in New Zealand is
"didymo-free" because didymo is often microscopic and the risk will
not always be apparent.
"Biosecurity New Zealand remains ready and has plans in place in the
event of a North Island detection. Public awareness and behaviour change is our
best weapon and along with our partner organisations, we will continue to
educate about the didymo risk and will be targeting high-risk activities over
the summer months".
Media contact: Phil Barclay, Senior Communications Adviser, Biosecurity New
Zealand 029 894 0432
To report an exotic pest or disease, call the MAF Emergency Pest and
Disease Hotline: 0800 80 99 66.
NOTE TO REPORTERS. In the interests of accuracy, didymo is an alga,
it is NOT an aquatic weed.