The invasive seaweed caulerpa has been found at Thompsons Point by Waiheke Marine Project’s divers during routine monitoring of the area.
Caulerpa is an aggressive invader of the ocean floor that spreads rapidly, overwhelming native seaweeds and altering the marine habitat so that fish, molluscs and other species struggle to survive.
The conservation group told Gulf News they discovered two patches of suspected caulerpa on Saturday 29 July and immediately sent video footage to Biosecurity New Zealand’s hotline.
The Ministry of Primary Industries responded quickly and advised the project that a group of scientific divers from NIWA would investigate further.
Waiheke Marine Project Steering Group member Craig Thorburn says on Tuesday 1 August a group of Waiheke divers from Submerged Environmental and Scientific Dive Services examined the area and provided a further and more detailed report which confirmed the seaweed was caulerpa.
NIWA’s scientific divers made 24 dives between Thursday and Friday of the same week. Nine of the 24 dives revealed caulerpa, says Craig. The divers didn’t find anything at Palm Beach and Oneroa. • Silvia Massa
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