As an island nation in a global economy, New Zealand faces increasing threats to its marine biodiversity, ecosystems, public health and economy from unwanted pests and diseases. Biosecurity is a component of national security and is essential to protecting New Zealand’s key economic and environmental assets.
Exotic organisms can compete with, or prey on, other species, change habitats and damage ecosystems. They can affect recreational and customary values, and impact on the economy. They do this by competing with economically important native species and reducing overall biodiversity. Recent incursions of invasive marine aquatic species are highlighting the difficulties associated with managing aquatic pests once they reach our shores.
National leadership for marine biosecurity is the responsibility of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), with responsibility for regional leadership sitting with regional councils. The MPI’s emphasis is on prevention, detection and immediate response. Other agencies, including regional councils and industry, are playing an increasingly active role in biosecurity management including undertaking longer-term management of incursions.
Last updated at 2:11PM on February 25, 2015