NEWS

Invasive Species Found In Fiji Waters

Maritime authority says it is like a small prawn or crayfish, which is almost an inch long.
04 Jun 2019 11:46
Invasive Species Found In Fiji Waters
Captain Philip Hill

An invasive species has been found in Fiji’s marine environment, says Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) chief executive officer Captain Philip Hill.

He revealed this yesterday during a regional workshop on the protection of the marine environment. The five-day workshop brought together representatives from 14 countries who will deliberate on the Ballast Water Management Convention, the Anti-fouling Systems Convention and Hull Bio-fouling Guidelines.

Captain Hill said the invasive species was like a small prawn or crayfish, which was almost an inch long.

“It drills itself into the wood and the hull of a wooded or fibre-glass ship so it disturbs the structural stability of that ship,” Captain Hill said.

He said invasive species could attack indigenous species, which was why the ballast water management was of such significance.

“For invasive species, we will have to work with perhaps the University of the South Pacific and try and get a benchmarking survey done of what we have in the harbour, especially Suva and Lautoka,” Captain Hill said.

He emphasised the Ballast Water Management Convention aimed to prevent invasive species from coming into the country.

“Ballast water is the water they use to stabilise ships,” he said.

“For example, if they fill water from a foreign country, they are supposed to go through the Ballast Water Management whereby they pump out that water and fill it in with water that is within our territories.

“Invasive species are foreign species and if they survive the voyage, then they become a pest in our marine environment.”

The Anti-fouling Systems Convention deals with the coating, paint or surface treatment that is used on a ship to control or prevent the attachment of unwanted organisms.

The Hull Bio-Fouling Guidelines address situations where marine species attach themselves on the hulls of ships and come into new waters where they can detach themselves or they can have their eggs released into the environment.

Fiji has already ratified the Ballast Water Management and Anti-fouling Systems Conventions.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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