The introduction and spread of new species in Australian waters pose a large threat to native biodiversity and can have widespread damaging effects on both our economy and health.
The likelihood of marine species being introduced into Australian and Western Australian waters is significant.
As an ocean-bound nation, Australia relies heavily on maritime transport, with over 95 per cent of our imports and exports carried by sea. The large ocean-going vessels that transport these goods are one of the main ways species are introduced to Australian waters.
The Australian Government, together with the other states and territories have developed a national system of policies and procedures to try and reduce the risk of marine pests arriving in Australian waters.
Part of this system includes the monitoring of ‘high-risk’ ports. These are ports that receive large numbers of vessels or high-risk vessels (such as dredgers), or are geographically close to areas where invasive marine species are known to inhabit.
In Western Australia there are three ports classed as high-risk; Fremantle, Dampier and Port Hedland. At these ports, we are carrying out extensive monitoring of invasive marine species. Using a range of techniques, from diver surveys to dredges and crab traps, we regularly sweep the ports for species known to be invaders elsewhere around the globe.
Members of the community also have an important role to play in keeping an eye out for any unusual-looking species and reporting them to us.