Australia’s port of Townsville has implemented a marine pest surveillance programme to detect dangerous marine species within the port.
The biosecurity programme utilises technology that analyses the DNA of marine pests to identify species within the port. The programme has been launched in partnership with Queensland’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.
Four detector plates have been placed in the port’s waters and will remain there for two months before they are retrieved and tested for the presence of marine pests.
Melinda Louden, environment and planning manager at the port of Townsville, explained: “This programme provides the opportunity to improve the ability and speed of detection if a marine pest species manages to slip through the existing controls in place by both the state and federal governments.”
She added: “We are responsible for maintaining the safe and efficient movement of marine traffic and cargo within our jurisdiction and work in close partnership with our regulatory partners.”
Townsville is the first of five Queensland ports to implement the programme along with Cairns, Mackay, Gladstone and Brisbane.