February 08, 2024
Caulerpa relentless in Aotea spread
Caulerpa seaweed is continuing to spread around Aotea-Great Barrier, with an outbreak detected in Port Abercrombie on the island’s northwest.
Aotea Great Barrier Environmental Trust head Barry Scott says caulerpa is probably the most invasive marine species to hit New Zealand, and it needs to be contained and eliminated where it is now.
He says a small sample of caulerpa taxifolia escaped from Jacques Cousteau’s Oceanographic Museum in Monaco in 1984 and quickly spread through the Mediterranian.
“The governments there failed to act. It’s one of those things you need to react to very quickly to, get in the water and deal to it, and it’s just grown and spread. The studies out of (Europe) suggest it has huge impacts on the ecology of marine life, on native species, and huge losses in fish and other marine biomass,” Professor Scott says.
Action is needed now including using tarps to block sunlight and suction dredging of the seafloor.