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  Marine Pests of Australia    

Marine Pests of Australia

What is a marine pest?

Introduced marine pests are species moved to an area outside their natural range, generally by human activities, and that threaten the environment, human health or economic values.
Australia has over 250 introduced marine species. Fortunately most have little impact but some, including several crabs, mussels, seastars and seaweeds, have become aggressive pests in some locations.

They can include mussels, crabs, seaweeds, sea stars and other marine species. However, not all marine pests are from outside Australia. Some are native to other regions of our country and have been transported into NSW, for example, through domestic shipping or the aquarium trade.


Northern Pacific sea stars
Image © Andrew Newton UW from Flickr

How do they get into Australia

Marine pests are introduced to Australian waters and transported inside our waters by a variety of means; including ballast water discharged by commercial shipping, bio-fouling on hulls and inside internal seawater pipes of commercial and recreational vessels, aquaculture operations (accidentally and intentionally), aquarium imports, as well as marine debris and ocean currents.

Each day, around 3,000 species of marine organisms are transported around the world in the ballast water of ocean-going vessels. These invaders, along with the ballast water, are dumped at their destination to make way for cargo. In 1993, 121 million tonnes of ballast water were dumped into Australian ports - equal to one quarter the volume of water in Sydney Harbour.

In 2009, almost one quarter of the world's dry cargo was shipped by container vessels like this,
about1.19 billion metric tons worth of cargo.




Thanks to
I would sincerely like to thank the many members of the Flickr community who have given me permission to use their wonderful images for this unit. Their contributions really make this unit come alive!

Next: What impact do they have? ...   


What is a marine pest?
How do they get into Australia?
What impact do they have?
What are the main pest species in Australia?
How are we trying to control marine pests?
Northern Pacific sea star
Green Crab
Pacific Oyster
Aeolid Nudibranch
New Zealand Screw Shell
Asian Mussel
Black Striped Mussel
Chinese Clam
European Fan Worm
Japanese Goby
Japanese Seaweed