​Media Release

Protecting Australia’s waters from ‘fishy’ marine pests

8 June 2018

  • The Coalition Government has launched a five year plan to better protect Australia's marine environment.
  • The MarinePestPlan 2018-2023 forms part of the government's $5 million commitment to strengthen national marine biosecurity.
  • $400,000 invested towards improving monitoring and surveillance of marine pests.

Australia's pristine waters, seafood and tourism industries will be better protected from pests such as the European fan worm and Chinese mitten crab thanks to a five year plan to target underwater pests.

The Coalition Government's MarinePestPlan 2018-2023 will make sure Aussie seafood maintains its clean, green and sustainable global reputation.

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud said the plan was a key deliverable under the Coalition Government's $5 million commitment to review and strengthen national marine biosecurity.

"Calling this big island home is a privilege for us all, but does come with around 60,000 kilometres of coastline that needs protecting," Minister Littleproud said.

​"We're strengthening our biosecurity through nationally coordinated surveillance and research and development objectives to make sure we are better prepared and responding quicker to outbreaks.

"The plan will include analysis of different ways pests make it to our shores, such as ballast water from ships, to ensure effective regulation. We must make sure these pests don't make Australia their new home.

"Exotic underwater pests we want to keep out includes the European fan worm which forms a 'carpet' on the seabed, smothering native species for food and space.

"The Chinese mitten crab causes erosion by burrowing into the shore and has the potential to host liver fluke, a parasite which poses a threat to human health.

"The plan will help ensure the sustainability of our $3 billion fisheries and aquaculture industries, and support the 14,000 Australians who are employed in the commercial fishing and aquaculture sector. 

"Protecting this unique marine environment, including several world heritage listed sites such as the Great Barrier Reef and Shark Bay, helps keep tourists flooding to our shores and our coastal towns on the map.

"Australia's marine tourism is worth around $14 billion annually and expected to grow to a $100 billion industry by 2025, but only if we invest in its future."

The Coalition Government has invested more than $8.5 million into marine biosecurity since 2013. 

MarinePestPlan 2018–2023 has been developed jointly by the Coalition Government, state and territory governments, industry, research organisations, and non-government organisations. 

The MarinePestPlan 2018–2023 is available online at www.marinepests.gov.au.

Fast Facts:

  • The Coalition Government has invested more than $8.5 million on marine biosecurity since 2013, including:
    • $5 million to develop and implement the review of National Marine Pest Biosecurity
    • More than $2 million through the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper to improve diagnostics and surveillance for marine pests in Australia and the Indian Ocean Territories with $1 million of this funding invested across northern Australia – with further investments coming in 2018-19.
    • And, an additional $1.5 million to strengthen scientific capability and surveillance for aquatic animal diseases, as well as supporting capacity building projects for our near neighbours and trading partners.  ​