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Home > Our region and environment > Pest management > Marine pests > Managing marine invaders

Managing marine invaders

Bay of Plenty Regional Council is working hard to reduce the risks that marine pests pose to our underwater environments, fisheries, recreation, tourism and aquaculture potential.

This work is outlined in the Bay of Plenty Marine Biosecurity Management Plan (1.37MB, pdf)

Small scale management programmes for marine pests

Mediterranean fanworm

Bay of Plenty Regional Council has declared two new Small Scale Management Programmes (SSMPs) to stop the unwanted pests Mediterranean fanworm (Sabella spallanzanii) and clubbed tunicate sea squirt (Styela clava) from becoming established in Bay of Plenty waters.

The SSMPs give Regional Council the legal powers and resources it needs to be able to take strong action and respond more quickly when specific marine pests are detected in the Bay of Plenty.

If you have any concerns or questions about the SSMPs, please contact Shane Grayling, phone 0800 884 880 or email

See notified Programmes here:

What’s the problem with marine pests?

Marine pests are plants or animals that originate from overseas and have aggressive growth or feeding habits that pose a threat to our fabulous underwater environments, seafood stocks or aquaculture potential.

Large clusters of unwanted marine pests such as fanworms or sea squirts can also cause costly and unsightly damage to boat equipment, wharves and other marine structures.

Most marine traffic entering the Bay of Plenty originates from Auckland and Northland; both of those areas host populations of marine pests (such as Mediterranean fanworm and clubbed tunicate sea squirt) that are not yet established in the Bay of Plenty. 

Marine pests are easily spread through ballast water and hull fouling. If pest-infested boats moor in the Bay and the pests are knocked off or allowed to spawn here, they could spread quickly and become impractical to control or eradicate.

In the past two years, we’ve discovered five recreational boats moored in Tauranga Harbour with pest fanworms or sea squirts growing on their hulls. All five boats had travelled from Auckland or Northland. They were subsequently hauled out and cleaned.

What’s a Small Scale Management Programme?

It’s a Biosecurity Act process that gives regional councils access to statutory powers to manage pests that aren’t otherwise managed under a Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP).

Where voluntary co-operation can’t be achieved, the SSMPs empower Regional Council staff to take action such as inspecting or seizing equipment or directing boat and marine structure owners to take immediate action to prevent the spread of specific marine pests.

When the Bay of Plenty RPMP is next reviewed in 2016, marine pests will be considered for inclusion. In the meantime, the SSMP will provide a stop-gap for addressing this new pest threat to the region.

Find out more

Call us on 0800 884 880, email  or see our other web pages

Join the pest patrol!

You can help keep marine pests out of the Bay of Plenty. Keep your boat hull clean and apply anti-foul regularly.

Please report any marine pests or heavily fouled boats you see in Bay of Plenty waters. Note the location, take a sample or photo if you can and call 0800 STOP PESTS (0800 786 773) or email