Japanese kelp found at Port Welshpool, Vic

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Japanese kelp.

JAPANESE Kelp or Wakame (Undaria pinnatifida) has been found at Port Welshpool, according to a report on the VRFish website.

Japanese kelp is a marine algae and a highly invasive marine pest. It negatively impacts fish habitat where it is introduced, out-competes our native species and creates a dense seaweed forest in previously open areas. The complete eradication of the pest from Port Welshpool is unlikely as it appears to have been spreading within the area for some time, however, other areas are at risk of having the algae introduced.

It is important to prevent Japanese kelp from spreading to other areas as it is generally spread via the hulls of vessels. In Victoria, Japanese kelp is already present in Port Phillip Bay and Apollo Bay. Vessels and boats travelling between areas can spread Japanese kelp. Marine pests are often microscopic so many boaters do not release they are transporting them via their boats and equipment.

All users of the marine environment have a role to play to avoid spreading the pest to other locations. The Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources have suggested using good vessel hygiene through the ‘Clean, Check, Dry’ method.

Good vessel hygiene through the ‘Clean, Check, Dry’ method means:
1.        Check any equipment and vessels that have been in marine waters for pests
2.        Clean them in freshwater
3.        Dry the equipment before moving to a new marine location.

Owners of resident vessels can maintain good vessel hygiene by regularly inspecting and cleaning their vessels out of the water and applying antifouling coating.

Suspected sightings of marine pests outside of their known distribution should be made immediately to marine.pests@ecodev.vic.gov.au or call 136 186. Reports should include a photograph, location and date of sighting.

For more information, download the Undaria Information Handout

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