Marine pest found at Great Barrier

Publish Date : 24 Mar 2017
Marine pest found at Great Barrier
Photo credit:  Geoff Read

An invasive marine pest has been found at Port Fitzroy and Auckland Council’s biosecurity team want to know if you’ve seen it.

The Mediterranean fanworm (Sabella spallanzanii) is established in the greater Auckland region, but this is only the second time it’s ever been reported at Great Barrier.

Biosecurity team to investigate

Auckland Council’s biosecurity team will carry out a dive survey in early April to investigate and determine the extent of the infestation.

Samantha Happy, Auckland Council’s Marine Biosecurity Advisor says Mediterranean fanworm is a threat to the island’s native biodiversity and aquaculture.

“It forms dense colonies, displaces native species and disrupts natural ecosystems. The species fouls and spreads on the hulls and niche areas of boats. It also grows on other marine structures and natural substratum including shells and rocks.”

“Unfortunately fanworm is established in much of the east coast of Auckland, but we’re not sure how far spread it is at Great Barrier."

"We will check marine structures such as moorings and wharves to find out how established it is around Great Barrier.”

How you can help

If you see evidence of fanworm, please notify Auckland Council’s biosecurity team on 09 301 0101 or

You can download a PDF to learn more about fanworm so you can report it if you see it.

For more information about fanworm and advice on how to help stop the spread, visit the Ministry for Primary Industries website.  

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