Closing boat-cleaning facilities raises invasive species concerns

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Auckland Yachting and Boating Association representative Andrew Barney says boats are the main spreaders of pests in Gulf waters, but there are less and less hardstands available for cleaning them. Photos Merrie Hewetson

Hardstands across Auckland have closed, sparking concerns the closures will drive the spread of pests in Auckland’s waters and make it harder for people to enjoy recreational boating.

At the Planning, Environment and Parks committee on 2 March, umbrella organisation Auckland Yachting and Boating Association called on Auckland Council to take a regional approach to the issue.

Local boards oversee facilities in their areas, including hardstands, and in February the Orakei Local Board decided to close the hardstands at its marina, The Landing, which it is putting up for sale.

Representative Andrew Barney said in the past year six hardstands had reduced their hull cleaning capacity, with three shutting their doors entirely. “I think there is actually a risk that we are going to see a balkanisation of responses to this threat where different wards take different approaches… we are going to see a very disjointed response to the problem.”

Barney says boats are the primary way pests are spread in Auckland waters and with boat owners having fewer places to clean their hulls, the closures coincided with a rapid rise in the spread of pests.

Read the full story in Gulf News – out now!

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