MPSC Communique - May 2014

​​​Notes from the Chair

The Marine Pest Sectoral Committee (MPSC) held its seventh meeting in Darwin in May 2014. Both the Industry Consultation Day and the MPSC meeting were well attended and the few who could not participate in person joined in by teleconference.

The Industry Consultation Day was, again, extremely valuable and provided an opportunity to discuss key issues with industry partner representatives and to bring their ideas on a range of important issues to the MPSC meeting the following day.

At MPSC members were enthusiastically engaged with the committee’s priority activities. MPSC was able to advance some of the high priority activities from its 2013–2014 strategic work plan. Criteria for the 'National Priority Marine Pest List' were drafted and agreed in principle by the committee, and the challenging issue of developing a 'National Monitoring Network Cost Sharing' arrangement for marine pest monitoring, which will support improved implementation of the National Marine Pest Monitoring Strategy, was progressed. Industry’s involvement in the committee’s working groups has been valuable.

MPSC also agreed on ways to more cost-effectively continue their marine pest work, which is of value to Australia’s aquatic industries, environment and society. Other achievements for MPSC included publishing, in February this year after considerable work by MPSC, the National priorities for introduced marine pest research and development 2013 - 2023.

As outgoing Chair, I would like to thank the MPSC members, observers, industry representatives and the secretariat for the collegiate and constructive MPSC sessions. My short stint as Chair was a great experience and some valuable work was done. I would also like to welcome Dr Robyn Martin as the incoming Chair. I am confident Dr Martin will enjoy, as I have, working with MPSC members and stakeholders to progress the valuable work of the committee.
Carol Sheridan
Chair MPSC06–07

Industry Consultation Day - 28 May 2014

The Industry Consultation Day was held on 28 May 2014. The committee and industry discussed proposed biofouling and biosecurity regulations followed by an open discussion on improving MPSC engagement and communication with industry. Suggestions included minimising the use of acronyms and adopting more simple definitions to make policies and documents easier to understand and implement.

Industry also requested that in-person meetings be continued.

The day included a brief discussion of CSIRO’s development of a Biosecurity Futures Report—to identify the major biosecurity trends and risk in the next 20–30 years—and two presentations.

  • advanced modelling technology used in a connectivity and pathway analysis of invasive marine species by DHI Water and Environment Pty Ltd.
  • marine pest biosecurity processes adopted in Darwin Harbour by INPEX.

MPSC06 Meeting Notes - 29 May 2014

Jurisdictional reports

Committee members provide reports to each MPSC meeting summarising marine pest biosecurity activities within each jurisdiction. Key activities reported to MPSC 07 include:

  • WA has extended its biofouling inspections to vessels other than those associated with the oil and gas sector including recreational vessels.
  • WA has launched the ‘Don’t Dump that Fish’ campaign.
  • NZ has released new border require​ments for biofouling management. The requirements will come into force following a four year voluntary phase during which vessels will be encouraged to become compliant.
  • NZ has initiated a project examining pathways to manage the domestic spread of marine pests.
  • QLD has passed its Biosecurity Act 2014; the Act will come into force in 2015.
  • Oyster growers in Coffin Bay, SA, participated in a wild oyster knockdown and marine debris clean up during April.

National Priority Marine Pests List Working Group

The working group has drafted criteria for the development of the priority marine pests list. These criteria are consistent with those for the Australia’s National List of Reportable Diseases of Aquatic Animals and the Established Pests and Diseases Framework under IGAB. It is anticipated that the list will be populated by the end of the year.

Review of the ‘Antifouling and in-water cleaning guidelines’

The Australian Government and the state and territory governments are currently reviewing the first 12 months of operation of the ‘Anti-fouling and in-water cleaning guidelines’.

National Biofouling Management Guidelines

The national biofouling management guidelines are being reviewed for consistency with the ‘Anti-fouling and In-water cleaning guidelines’ and the International Maritime Organization biofouling guidelines (‘2011 Guidelines for the Control and Management of Ships’ Biofouling to Minimize the Transfer of Invasive Aquatic Species’). Suggested changes will be submitted to MPSC and industry partners for consideration.

Review of marine pest biosecurity arrangements

As an outcome of a government election commitment, a review of Australia’s invasive marine pest biosecurity arrangements will be undertaken in 2014–2015. The review will examine Australia’s existing marine pest biosecurity arrangements to identify actions the Commonwealth can take to improve marine pest biosecurity. The review will seek input from jurisdictions, industry and other stakeholders.

International Maritime Organization

Pollution Prevention and Response subcommittee

The 1st session of IMO's Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR) was held in London from 3–7 February 2014. The Ballast Water Drafting Group developed a draft ballast water management circular on guidance on the use of ballast water management during stripping operations.

Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC 66)

The MEPC 66 considered a proposal from industry groups to reopen and review the Guidelines for approval of ballast water management systems. It was agreed that a study plan will be developed by the MEPC secretariat, which will look at the performance of ballast water management systems already approved. Also considered was a proposal from India for the approval of their concept of ballast water treatment boats as an Other Method under the Convention.

Recently released research projects

Jurisdictions reported the publication of the following reports:

  • Department of Fisheries, (in pub), ‘Phenology of the ascidian Didemnum perlucidum (Monniot 1983) in Western Australia.’ (Fisheries Research Report)
  • Department of Fisheries, March 2014, ‘Potential eradication and control methods for the management of the ascidian, Didemnum perlucidum in Western Australia’. Fisheries Research Report no. 252.
  • Department of Fisheries, Nov. 2013, ‘Freshwater pest fact sheet: Indistinct river shrimp.’
  • Giblot-Ducray, D. and Bott, N.J. (2013). Development of a plankton sampling protocol for molecular testing of marine pests. Report prepared for Biosecurity SA (PDF 1.3 MB). South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide. SARDI Publication No. F2013/000281-1. SARDI Research Report Series No. 734. 32pp.
  • Glasby, T.M. (2013). Caulerpa taxifolia in seagrass meadows: killer or opportunistic weed?  Biological Invasions 15(5): 1017-1035
  • Gribben, P.E., Byers, J.E., Wright, J.T., Glasby, T.M. (2013). Positive versus negative effects of an invasive ecosystem engineer on different components of a marine ecosystem. Oikos122: 816–824.

Upcoming MPSC meetings

The next MPSC meeting (MPSC08) will be held on 30 October 2014 in Canberra, ACT.

Member contacts

Member Jurisdiction Agency Contact
Carol Sheridan
Australian Government Department of Agriculture*
Peter Stoutjesdijk Australian Government Department of Agriculture*
Rae Burrows Western Australia Department of Fisheries
Melissa Walker New South Wales Department of Primary Industries
Murray Barton Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries
Stuart McConnell Victoria Department of Environment and Primary Industries  
Michael Sierp South Australia Biosecurity SA
08 8207 7838
Cheryle Hislop Tasmania Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment
02 6165 3151
* Please note: email addresses for the Department of Agriculture have changed from to
Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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