Biosecurity Porthole: Website focuses on threats to the marine environment

September 03, 2015

Auckland (Bernd F. Laeschke – 29.07.2011): "The Marine Biosecurity Porthole" is a website that publishes previously unseen records of pests that threaten New Zealand's marine environment. Examples of species featured include the Styela clava, a stalked sea squirt, the Mediterranean fan worm Sabella spallanzanii and the Pyura stolonifera sea squirt - all of which are non-native marine organisms, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) and the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) said.

The website includes data from marine surveillance programs and NIWA's Marine Invasive Taxonomic Service that can be accessed by researchers and members of the public interested in protecting the marine environment.

"This portal will enable those people to find the most current information on what has been recorded in our waters and where those pest species have been detected,” said Simon McDonald, MAF's Manager of Marine Surveillance. "Since 2001, NIWA and other research providers have completed 43 baseline surveys of ports and marinas throughout New Zealand where vessels enter from overseas as part of MAF's marine surveillance program. These surveys provided information about both indigenous and non-indigenous species present in those locations. In addition, NIWA surveys high-risk locations twice-yearly for key unwanted pests. Now this information is collated in one easy-to-access location."

NIWA’s Aquatic Biosecurity Program Leader Graeme Inglis says the portal features a web-mapping application that allows users to view sites surveyed around New Zealand and distribution records for individual species. A metadata catalog allows users to search for and download information and specialized reports. "It also gives access to information on significant marine pests and a metadata catalog allowing search and download of information and reports. We're very excited that this important information is now so accessible to those who need it. We see this as an on-going project that will incorporate new data and information as it becomes available."

The Marine Biosecurity Porthole can be accessed at http://www.marinebiosecurity.org.nz/.