Every year large numbers of exotic marine species are accidently introduced into Australian waters as a result of vessel fouling, ballast water release, aquarium trade, or through aquaculture associated stock movement. Although the majority of exotics do not establish viable populations, over 250 aquatic invasives have become notorious pests (www.marinepests.gov.au) that have significant direct economic impact on aquaculture and fisheries industries. Indirect impact include blocking industrial water intake and outlet pipes, fouling of commercial and recreational vessels as well as modifying natural ecosystems by competing for food and space with indigenous species. The costs to industry, government, and the environment are significant and ongoing. The best prevention of pest spread is their early recognition and eradication by field workers, as once established eradication is almost impossible. This, however, entails the correct initial identification of the species. Because many exotic species closely resemble native species, it is critical to distinguish between native and introduced species that already occur here as well as to recognise new introductions. Training of stakeholders to recognise introductions and develop working relationships with the relevant taxonomic experts is critical so that this can be ongoing, which will facilitate early detection and development of emergency management strategies. The workshop attendees will be shown how to collect and preserve worms in order to be able to identify them and which characters are critical to examine. This will involve hands on experience in identification of potential pests and plenty of opportunities for face to face contact and informal communication with established experts in the field to develop relevant skills. Each participant will receive a fully-illustrated guide to facilitate identifications in the work place. The guide will contain previously unpublished data and will continually be updated as new information becomes available, also for sale to non-workshop participants.
Project number: 2013-402
Budget expenditure: $10,000.00
Principal Investigator: Pat Hutchings
Organisation: Australian Museum
Project start/end date: 30 Jun 2013 - 30 Nov 2013
1. To host an identification workshop for oyster farmers, consultants, port authorities, quarantine and fisheries managers to teach them how to recognise marine pests.
2. To increase the awareness of new potential introductions
3. To highlight the problem of diversity and impacts of invasive marine worm species which could become pests.
4. To establish collaborative working relationships between participants and relevant Australian and international experts.
5. To test and update the guide to native and invasive potential pest worms currently being developed
Author: Pat Hutchings