Optimising New Zealand’s marine biosecurity surveillance programme

Project ID: 170618
Project Name: Optimising New Zealand’s marine biosecurity surveillance programme
CEBRA Project Leader: Assoc Prof Andrew Robinson
MPI Sponsor: Veronica Herrera, Director Diagnostic and Surveillance Services, Operations Branch, Ministry for Primary Industries, New Zealand (MPI)
MPI Project Leader: Abraham Growcott, Senior Adviser, Aquatic and Environment Health (Biosecurity Surveillance and Incursion Investigation), Diagnostic and Surveillance Services, Operations Branch
Collaborators: N/A

Ocean-going vessels have been identified as the major vector for the global translocation of non-indigenous marine species (NIS) (Bell et al. 2011). The biofouling pathway is of particular importance and it has been estimated that 69 – 90 % of established NIS in New Zealand are likely to have been introduced via this pathway, with ballast water being the second most important pathway (Cranfield et al. 1998).

In order to detect NIS early in the invasion process the Marine High-Risk Site Surveillance Programme (MHRSS) was established in 2002 and provides site-based surveillance at selected “high-risk” sites (ports and marinas) throughout New Zealand. MPI currently invests over $2M annually in the MHRSS and the associated Marine Invasives Taxonomic Service.

Currently 11 sites are surveyed biannually (summer and winter seasons) with survey effort distributed evenly across each site (~243 survey areas per site), with the exception of Auckland which receives double the survey effort (~486 survey areas).

Since the inception of the MHRSS, survey methods for NIS have continually been refined, however, reprioritisation of “high risk” surveillance sites at a national scale considering changes since 2002 to vessel traffic patterns or behaviour (e.g., sites visited, duration of stay, ballast water discharge volumes) has not occurred. Additionally, allocation of survey effort between surveillance sites is not related to the relative likelihood of NIS entry and establishment at each site.

As such, the current design of the MHRSS may not match the profile for NIS entry and establishment to New Zealand. Therefore, the development of a systematic statistical likelihood-based methodology that can determine the relative likelihood of NIS entry and establishment at sites (ports and marinas) using updated data is required for the optimisation of the MHRSS.

Marine surveillance in Australia has been restricted due to the considerable costs of implementing a nationwide programme despite the development of guidelines in the 1990s.

The outcomes of this project will be:

* recommendations on which surveillance sites have the highest relative likelihood of NIS entry and establishment, and how survey effort should be assigned;

* a systematic statistical likelihood-based methodology that can be used to:

  • select sites prior to commencing a marine surveillance programme, or
  • periodically investigate whether the MHRSS or other marine surveillance programmes are optimised for the   detection of NIS; and

* an understanding of how any recommendations, if implemented, will affect the detection and interpretation of any long-term trends in the data set.

* The model outputs will provide probabilities of the risk of NIS entry and subsequent establishment to a given port in NZ

Research Program

Strengthening Surveillance

Not currently logged in: Login