The movement of boats around the country between harbours increases the risk of marine pests spreading.

Marine pests often ‘hitchhike’ on boats and equipment moving around the country, either from biofouling on boat hulls or from the discharge of ballast and bilge water.

To protect the region’s coast from unwanted marine pests the Bay of Plenty Regional Pest Management Plan 2020 – 2030 (RPMP) contains rules that apply specifically to craft and equipment moving to or within the region:

Rule 1

The occupier in charge of a craft moving to, or within Bay of Plenty waters must ensure the hull is sufficiently cleaned and antifouled, so that the hull has no more than a slime layer and/or barnacles.

Rule 2

All aquaculture equipment (including ropes and floats) used within Bay of Plenty waters must not have been used outside Bay of Plenty waters or used within a known pest incursion zone in the Bay of Plenty.

For more information on marine pests visit Clean Below? Good to Go.

Asian paddle crab

Asian Paddle Crab

The Asian paddle crab is an aggressive defender of its territory making it a fierce competitor for native crabs and potentially giving humans a nasty nip.

Australian droplet tunicate

Australian droplet tunicate

Australian droplet tunicate is a sea squirt that forms long, cylindrical tubes. The tubes clump together to form dense colonies.

Mediterranean fanworm (Sabella)

Mediterranean fanworm (Sabella)

The Mediterranean fanworm was first detected in New Zealand in 2008 and is now present in a number of harbours around the country.



Pyura originates in South America and is likely to have arrived in New Zealand as an unwanted hitchhiker on a vessel.

To prevent the spread of marine pests, Bay of Plenty marinas require visiting vessels to have been recently cleaned. That means:

  • Antifouled in the last six months.
  • Lifted and washed in the last month.

Check with the marina what proof is required. Some high-risk vessels may be subject to additional marina requirements.

Tauranga marinas have their own hull hygiene rules for visiting vessels. Plan ahead - contact Tauranga Bridge Marina on 07 575 8264 or Tauranga Marina on 07 578 8747 for details.

Here's how you can help:

  • Keep your favourite fishing and diving spots pest-free.
  • Keep your boat bottom and any niche areas clean (no more than light slime, all the time).
  • Keep your anti-fouling paint fresh - manufacturers usually recommend replacement every 1-2 years.
  • Check your hull before you travel to a new area, every time.
  • If your boat is heavily fouled, haul it out. Cleaning underwater will only spread any pests that were hiding on there.

We'll be doing spot checks on boat hulls in Bay of Plenty this summer. If pests are found on your boat you may be asked to haul it out for cleaning.

Call it in. If you think you’ve seen the marine pests below (or any others) in the Bay of Plenty, call us on 0800 STOP PESTS (0800 786 773) or MPI on 0800 80 99 66. Note the location and grab a sample if you can.