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Get in quick for free marine pests workshops

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

People keen to learn more about some of the worst pests threatening Northland's special marine environment are being urged to register now for one of a series of free workshops around the region.

Six workshops will be run jointly by the Northland Regional Council and MAF Biosecurity New Zealand (MAF BNZ) in mid-October in Dargaville, Whangarei, Russell, Whangaroa, Rawene and Kaitaia.

"These two-hour workshops are for people who want to find out more about marine pests and how they can help look after Northland's coast," co-organiser Gail Townsend says.

Ms Townsend, a biosecurity officer with the regional council, says many marine pests can be encountered by those simply walking along a beach or swimming or paddling in shallow water, so the workshops are for everyone who uses the coast, not just divers, boaties or those working in marine-related fields.

She says each workshop will include what marine pests are and how they spread, what they look like and what to do if you find one.

Among the roughly 20 marine pests to be covered next month will be a number that are already in Northland, including several sea squirts, but also others like the particularly invasive Pacific sea star which have yet to reach New Zealand waters.

The workshops will also include a number of harmless native marine species which can be confused with introduced pests.

Ms Townsend says the marine pests workshops follow on from a similar series of successful workshops on land-based plant pests the council ran recently around the region which were attended by more than 200 people.

The council and MAF BNZ will hold the first of their six workshops in Dargaville at the sports complex, Logan St, from 10.30am-12.30pm on Tuesday 11 October, followed by another the same day at Rawene from 4-6pm at NorthTec in Nimmo St.

The Kaitaia workshop will be held Wednesday 12 October at the Far North District Council in Redan Rd from 1.30-3.30pm and Whangaroa's workshop will be at the sports fishing club, 573 Whangaroa Rd, from 10.30am-12.30pm the following day (13 October).

Russell's workshop will take place Friday 14 October at the Haratu Building, corner the Strand and Pitt St, from 10.30am-12.30pm.

The final workshop in the series will be held in Whangarei from 10.30am-12.30pm at the Northland Regional Council building in Water St on Saturday 15 October.

Ms Townsend says numbers will typically be limited to about 20 people at each workshop and organisers are urging people to pre-register to avoid missing out.

"We won't be able to take any registrations on the day and it would be a shame to have to turn people away."

People keen to register should contact Northland Regional Council reception on (0800) 002 004 or email Gail Townsend or Jillian Fulcher at or

Ms Townsend says more information on marine pests in Northland is available from the council's website at:

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