The marine pest ‘Undaria Pinnatifida’ also known as Japanese Kelp or Wakame, has been found at Port Welshpool. This is the first detection of the species outside of Port Phillip Bay and Apollo Bay harbour.
The introduction and spread of Undaria is often associated with human activity. It is likely that it was introduced to Port Welshpool via the hulls of vessels coming from Port Phillip Bay.
“Undaria is a significant fouler of port infrastructure and the hulls of vessels. It can change the environment as it colonises new areas by creating seaweed cover in previously open habitats”, said Dr Rosa Crnov, Chief Plant Health Officer with the Department of Economic Development Jobs, Transport and Resources.
The eradication of marine pests is very challenging and usually only succeeds when pests are detected very early and are present in contained situations. Unfortunately, the infestation at Port Welshpool is large and appears to have been spreading within the port area for some time. Complete removal of the infestation from Port Welshpool is not feasible however, it is important to stop it from spreading to other areas such as the largely pristine waters of Wilsons Prom. Many boats launch from Port Welshpool and travel to locations such as Refuge Cove but also further out to Lakes Entrance.
The attached brochure provides information about how to help prevent the spread of marine pests.