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Online 'Vessel Check' Tool Helps Prevent Invasive Marine Pests

16 June 2015

AUSTRALIA - A new online risk assessment tool will help the fishing, shipping and boating industry protect Western Australia’s marine environment from invasive marine pests.

'Vessel Check' equips managers of commercial, non-trading, petroleum and commercial fishing vessels to take preventive action against the biosecurity risk to WA waters posed by international and interstate shipping movements.

It enables operators to easily assess risk and better manage their vessels, before they leave their last ports of call on their way to Western Australia, by reducing biofouling and reducing the risk of aquatic pests making the journey.

At the launch of Vessel Check, Fisheries Minister Ken Baston said the online tool was a welcome initiative to help prevent the introduction of invasive marine species from international and interstate vessel movements.

“Vessels are the primary way marine pests are moved to new areas, and the shipping industry and resources sector, together with the Department of Fisheries, identified the need a couple of years ago for a standardised tool to help vessel managers reduce the risk of moving pests into WA in biofouling,” Mr Baston said.

“Users of Vessel Check can test different scenarios for their vessel, so they can see how different management actions affect their vessel’s risk.”

The Minister said significant engagement had taken place with a wide range of stakeholders throughout the development of this risk assessment tool.

“Following a pilot trial, 30 submissions were received from industry consultants, inspectors, industry users, port authorities and government agencies, with feedback incorporated into the final version of Vessel Check,” he said.

“The tool has also been validated against a range of ‘real world’ vessels.

“Western Australia is benefitting from industry and other stakeholders, who’ve shown a strong commitment to best practice in managing vessels to protect our State’s aquatic environment and supporting this voluntary tool.

“With Vessel Check, WA is leading the way in managing the potential risks from biofouling that, unlike ballast water, is not regulated in a consistent manner around Australia.”

TheFishSite News Desk

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