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Asian green mussel surveillance resumes near Weipa

News release | 14-Feb-2018

Surveillance activities for Asian green mussel near Weipa have resumed following the invasive marine pest’s predicted spawning period during the wet season.

Biosecurity Queensland Invasive Plants and Animals Acting General Manager Graeme Dudgeon said surveillance would continue to ensure there were no further traces of Asian green mussels in the area. 

“Since the single detection in May 2017, there has been no further detections of Asian green mussels,” Mr Dudgeon said.

“Now is an important time to recommence surveillance as Asian green mussels are most likely to spawn in the wet season.

“This means larvae could be floating in the water over the coming months.

“Experts from James Cook University are conducting another plankton tow survey this week to collect water samples from multiple locations which may detect traces of Asian green mussel DNA.

“Plankton tows were previously done around the site of the initial discovery as well as in areas where currents could have led to other mussel settling and establishing.”

Biosecurity Queensland has used a number of surveillance methods since the pest was found on a settlement plate array between Boyd Bay and Pera Head,  south of Weipa.

These activities have included plankton tows, settlement plate and vessel inspections, underwater video surveillance around wharves, pylons and moorings, beach walks, and the inspection of rocky outcrops.

Asian green mussels, which are not established in Australia’s marine environment, are an invasive marine pest that out-compete native species.

Mr Dudgeon said it’s unknown at this stage how the mussel arrived in Australia but they are known to attach themselves to vessels or can move through the exchange of a vessel’s ballast water.

“Australia has biosecurity measures in place to ensure that ships’ ballast water is exchanged outside of Australian waters.”

A national Consultative Committee on Introduced Marine Pest Emergencies continues to meet in response to the Asian green mussel incident and will consider the next steps when the current round of surveillance is completed.

To report marine pests, contact Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.

For more information on Asian green mussels, contact Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 or visit the website,www.daf.qld.gov.au

Follow Biosecurity Queensland on Facebook and Twitter (@BiosecurityQld).

Media contact: Dianne Bye, 07 3087 8577