Far North marinas in Whangaroa, Kerikeri and Opua are joining the Northland-wide fight against Mediterranean fanworm and it may affect the ability of touring holiday boaties to find marina accommodation for their boats this summer.
Mediterranean fanworm (Sabella spallanzanii) is a marine animal typically found in estuaries or sheltered sites, at depths of anywhere between one to 30 metres. Internationally recognised as a significant marine pest, it consists of a tough, flexible tube – often muddy in appearance & always anchored to a hard surface – which is topped with a single spiral fan. They grow up to 40cm long and the fans are white, banded with brown and orange, and have an orange central stem. Mediterranean fanworms are unwanted because they can form dense groups that compete with native species for food and space.
The presence of Mediterranean fan worm in Northland would jeopardise the local economy and the ecology, potentially destroying seafood and marine reserves. A growing number of Northland stakeholders hope to hold back the tide of this invader being carried into Northland waters on boats. Auckland waters are heavily infested.
In practice this means that boats visiting the Far North marinas this summer will need to provide information about their recent location, the age of their anti-foul and/or recent haul outs. The message for anyone moving a vessel is slip it, clean it and anti-foul its hull. Fresh is best, ideally anti-foul will be less than six months old when the boat arrives in Northland. And, boats with anti-foul older than 12 months will not be able to rent a berth at a marina in Opua, Kerikeri or Whangaroa. Marinas in the Whangarei area have already adopted similar restrictions. If you are planning to travel to Northland in your boat this summer please contact one of the marinas in that area, well in advance, to discuss the conditions around renting a marina berth.