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Caulerpa now in BOI


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15 hours ago, harrytom said:

Govt dont seem over concerned as $$ need to spent. Minister of AG didnt have a answer or overly concerned.Could be billions lost,fish/seafood/tourism and even having ships banned at overseas ports.

So what they allocated $5 mil,spend $100 mil and get it gone.

Unfortunately you could throw a billion at it & it won't "be gone"

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39 minutes ago, Bad Kitty said:

Unfortunately you could throw a billion at it & it won't "be gone"

I accept that might be the case, but you stand a much better chance of getting it to a controllable level if you are prepared to put in the investment.  In the program the comparison was made to the microbovis outbreak response - it was a sobering thought.

M Bovis was identified in 2017 and by 2021 we had spent $350m controlling it (https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/country/455548/review-finds-mycoplasma-350m-bovis-eradication-efforts-on-track)

By 2023 we had spent $650m of a predicted $800m to eradicate it. (https://www.farmersweekly.co.nz/news/milestone-for-m-bovis-programme/)

At the time, and now, this is a world first.  Nowhere else has managed an attempt to eradicate and had such success.

I'm not blind to the reality of trying to eradicate a sea-water-borne plant.  Its a lot easier to control stuff on land than at sea.  However, I suspect that a $800m budget over 5 to 10 years committed NOW would allow us to reduce spread to a point where "mopping up" regularly would control the invasion - not eliminate, but control.  

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1 hour ago, aardvarkash10 said:

I accept that might be the case, but you stand a much better chance of getting it to a controllable level if you are prepared to put in the investment.  In the program the comparison was made to the microbovis outbreak response - it was a sobering thought.

M Bovis was identified in 2017 and by 2021 we had spent $350m controlling it (https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/country/455548/review-finds-mycoplasma-350m-bovis-eradication-efforts-on-track)

By 2023 we had spent $650m of a predicted $800m to eradicate it. (https://www.farmersweekly.co.nz/news/milestone-for-m-bovis-programme/)

At the time, and now, this is a world first.  Nowhere else has managed an attempt to eradicate and had such success.

I'm not blind to the reality of trying to eradicate a sea-water-borne plant.  Its a lot easier to control stuff on land than at sea.  However, I suspect that a $800m budget over 5 to 10 years committed NOW would allow us to reduce spread to a point where "mopping up" regularly would control the invasion - not eliminate, but control.  

If, and it's a big if, there was a biological solution then just maybe, you can control it.

The big vacuum cleaner thing, while it may be a stop gap to slow things down, is going to have it's own issues.

First, the Caulerpa fragments that are ending up in the water column will be pretty interesting.

Second, what environmental damage is scrubbing the seabed doing?

I'm not saying don't try this, but having watched first-hand the spend on trying to eradicate Undaria, and the lack of success, I'm more than a little skeptical about how all this will play out.

Asian seaweed (Undaria pinnatifida): Weeds (doc.govt.nz) 

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10 minutes ago, Bad Kitty said:

Second, what environmental damage is scrubbing the seabed doing?

Probably no damage compared to the weed.The weed smothering all shellfish beds,fish unable to get too food source etc

But lets do what we are good at,complaining nothing be done and when we try we complain some more

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10 minutes ago, harrytom said:

Probably no damage compared to the weed.The weed smothering all shellfish beds,fish unable to get too food source etc

But lets do what we are good at,complaining nothing be done and when we try we complain some more

Maybe I'm taking that too personally, but I don't actually see myself as complaining about everything, just pointing out that scrubbing the seabed will have it's own consequences? There's a difference between whining about everything and applying some thought & analysis to what the media serve up every day. 

Sorry if that's offensive to you.

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Not sure how you can compare it to the M.bovis outbreak. In that case, MPI went and shot cows that belonged to someone else.

What would you do here? go and shoot all the snapper? Cows are easy to find, they are normally in paddocks and stuff. And not excessively mobile, assuming the paddock is fenced. They don't move twice a day with the tide (unless of course, they are dairy cows, then they move twice a day into and out of the milking shed, but I digress).

I found the Sunday programme to be highly emotive. But it skipped some key facts. What is the actual impact of caulerpa, as opposed to anecdotal stories? Of note, the start of the story covered two businesses in Tyrphena that are struggling. The Irish bar and the cafe. They stated all business from boaties / tourism has just stopped. That is due to the MPI anchoring ban, not the environmental impacts of caulerpa.

In all the Niwa videos there has been loads of fish over the caulerpa. Mainly spotties and goat fish. These aren't fish of interest to fisho's, but they are still fish, and evidence of a reasonable ecosystem. The spot where Blair Tuke went for a snorkel was in the middle of a sandy bay on a bright day. You wouldn't see very much there in that type of environment in any sandy bay on a bright day pre-caulerpa.

The fundamental issue is as Grant Hoggard set out in the Sunday programme. All evidence says you can't eradicate it. There is a LOT of international evidence to support that point. It may be possible to manage it, and so they are doing a trial with the barge. as the naughty cat has mentioned, you need to be careful you don't accelerate the spread of caulerpa by disturbing it so much, and the scorched earth element of vacuuming the sea floor. You need to make sure the pipi and sollies grow back faster than the caulerpa. Given the whole issue with caulerpa is it's very high rate of growth, that is a reasonable risk to investigate.

Has MPI moved too slow? Well, it is a perpetual thing to criticise the govt for everything. Personally I don't think they have moved very fast, but on the flip side, there are no established frameworks for dealing with water born weeds. With cows we know we can shoot them, with weed, well, what can you do?

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The other thing to add with the comparison to M. Bovis, is that there was a direct and quantifiable reduction in milk production due to M.Bovis. That could attach a dollar value to it quickly and be used to justify a business case for spending large sums of money to erradicate it.

As far as we can tell, there isn't any economic impact from caulerpa. Just environmental and cultural. We haven't heard of fishing companies going bust cause they can't catch anything. We haven't even heard of fishing charters having trouble. They are still catching crayfish no issue on the west coast of Barrier, so you really have to ask what is the impact? Scollies are stuffed, but that was the case pre-caulerpa. Everything to do with over fishing and bad management. That said, caulerpa isn't going to help scollies recover. But, playing devils advocate, if you weren't catching scollies commercially anyway (cause you screwed the pooch), what is the economic impact of caulerpa?

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5 minutes ago, K4309 said:

As far as we can tell, there isn't any economic impact from caulerpa. Just environmental and cultural.

This presupposes that the only relevant impact is the impact on the economy.  We are very good at disregarding social and environmental costs to our detriment.

A thought-provoking point made on the program was the potential for maritime exports from NZ to be blacklisted or for those ships to have higher levels of scrutiny (read: cost) when arriving at other ports.

Maybe M Bovis was the wrong comparator.  Maybe gorse or invasive grasses are a better choice.  Even there, we see better funded and more aggressive approaches to management of these invasive species.

I suspect the issue here is one of "out of sight..."

Thanks for the points you raised.  All valid, all thought provoking.

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4 hours ago, aardvarkash10 said:

This presupposes that the only relevant impact is the impact on the economy.  We are very good at disregarding social and environmental costs to our detriment.

A thought-provoking point made on the program was the potential for maritime exports from NZ to be blacklisted or for those ships to have higher levels of scrutiny (read: cost) when arriving at other ports.

Maybe M Bovis was the wrong comparator.  Maybe gorse or invasive grasses are a better choice.  Even there, we see better funded and more aggressive approaches to management of these invasive species.

I suspect the issue here is one of "out of sight..."

Thanks for the points you raised.  All valid, all thought provoking.

It is interesting how society values environmental and social factors. It wasn't that long ago that they we not considered at all. Infact the notion that they existed was completely novel. Some of Muldoon's Think Big projects would not even get off the drawing boards today because of environmental, social and cultural factors. Yet we have some of the highest proportions of renewable hydro power in the world.

I'm not sure it is so much "out of sight" but really hard to quantify the cost / risk, and having a complete lack of viable treatment options ready to go. Noting that MPI have long established plans for something like a Foot and Mouth outbreak. They already have manuals and planning in place (at least I expect they do, maybe I'm an optimist) I know DoC are already trialing bird flu vaccines in preparation for the next avain bird flu outbreak.

The comment on the Sunday show about risk to shipping was a bit of slight of hand. The professor guy made an inference and the journo used it to make a giant leap. Ships are already routinely checked for invasive organisms. Having one more here on top of the 2 dozen or so unwanted marine organisms doesn't change the risk profile at all.

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Aotea / Great Barrier local board chairperson Izzy Fordham said putting in new moorings could be a win-win.

"We've got some evidence of how it works in Australia; they can be booked online, so it could be a revenue gain as well. Helping the community and helping those boaties also."

And:

We've traced a boat - a superyacht - and it's come into Barrier on the west side, anchored, [then] it's gone round to the east side and it's anchored. And then it [went] right round past the north edge of the island to Mangawhai, so how can you stop them?

"These are superyachts that come from overseas. We don't know what they're doing."

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52 minutes ago, K4309 said:

We've traced a boat - a superyacht - and it's come into Barrier on the west side, anchored, [then] it's gone round to the east side and it's anchored. And then it [went] right round past the north edge of the island to Mangawhai, so how can you stop them?

"These are superyachts that come from overseas. We don't know what they're doing."

Bit of vigilence by Barrier residents could row out and inform them about anchoring etc wouldnt go astray?

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