Biosecurity enquiries and surveillance

The Council biosecurity and pest management officers responded to 992 queries during 2005-2006 financial year. A general trend has been an increase in the range of biosecurity related queries including more associated with environmental pests and invertebrates (especially ants). Biosecurity issues during this time have been highlighted frequently in the media via television programmes, through Biosecurity New Zealand's response to incursions and national promotions (e.g. weedbusters). The increased biosecurity profile may have contributed to the nature of enquiries. The number and types of enquiries helps to identify emergent issues and assess if current public knowledge needs are being resolved.

Consultants working on behalf of Biosecurity New Zealand (BNZ) surveyed the port areas of Opua and Marsden Point and the Tutukaka marina as part of a national survey of the distribution of Styela clava (sea squirt). While a specimen was found at Tutukaka, both Opua and Marsden Point were clear. BNZ contracted a consultant in June 2006 for a trial eradication programme at Tutukaka.

BNZ also advised the Council of an infestation of Phytophthora kernoviae (plant disease) in cherimoya trees near Broadwood. Surveys of kauri trees, another possible host, in Northland are ongoing.