Marine pests often hitchhike on vessels. As trade and international shipping increases, so can the spread of marine pests. They can have a serious effect on your vessel and the oceans you use.
If marine pests attach to your vessel, they may:
- block water intake pipes
- create vessel drag and reduce fuel efficiency and performance
- increase down time, cleaning and treatment costs
- shorten the life of your boat and gear.
You may also be subject to regulatory action (such as being turned away from a port). We are developing new biofouling regulations right now. We will consult with stakeholders in early 2019.
Keep it clean and free from pests. Train crew to identify marine pests. Report anything you find.
Keep it clean
Keep marine pests off your vessel.
Anything you submerge in water or that takes in sea water can spread marine pests. This includes anchors, ropes, deck areas, the vessel hull and internal seawater systems.
Protect your vessel and Australia’s waterways:
- Check local requirements with your state or territory authority.
- Follow our biofouling management guidelines for your vessel type.
- Keep up to date on development of new biofouling regulations.
- Meet Australian Ballast Water Requirements, if applicable.
Avoid any action that could spread pests to a new location.
Organisms and plant material can build up on submerged surfaces.
This is biofouling. It is one of the most common ways marine pests spread. They can attach in large quantities. They will then spread to the next location you use your equipment or vessel.
Biofouling increases the longer a vessel or structure stays submerged.
Keep your vessel free from biofouling. Look out for pests or growth.
- Ensure your vessel has an appropriate in-service anti-fouling coating.
- Clean your vessel between locations — in a drydock or slipway, or in the water (if allowed by the relevant authority).
- Check niche areas and flush internal seawater systems.
- Inspect and clean all equipment and gear that may get wet.
National biofouling management guidelines:
Anti-fouling and in-water cleaning
Apply anti-fouling coatings to your vessel. Make sure you:
- choose the right coating for your vessel profile
- maintain your anti-fouling coating properly
- record details of the coating you have applied.
This will reduce the risk of marine pests attaching to your vessel.
In-water cleaning must only be undertaken when removal of biofouling:
- does not harm the anti-fouling coating
- presents an acceptable biosecurity or contaminant risk as determined by the local authority.
Check advice in our anti-fouling and in-water cleaning guidelines.
Keep a lookout in your area.
Be informed. Look for anything unusual. Help stop the spread of marine pests.
- Check our marine pest map.
- Learn how to identify common marine pests.
- Report anything you think is a pest.
States and territories are responsible for managing marine pest risks in their area. This includes locations where you can clean your vessel.
You must meet requirements set by your relevant state or territory authority:
- New South Wales — Department of Primary Industries
- Northern Territory — Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries
- Queensland — Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
- South Australia — Department of Primary Industries and Regions SA
- Tasmania — Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment
- Victoria — Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
- Western Australia — Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development
See something unusual? Report it. Even if you’re not sure.
If you see something you think is a pest:
- note the exact location (screenshot your map app or enable photo geotagging on your phone)
- take a photo (use something for size reference, like a coin or note)
- contact your state or territory authority.