Weed seller in hot water
22 September 2016
A 47-year-old Victorian woman has been prosecuted for selling the state prohibited weed water hyacinth on the internet.
Sixty-four water hyacinth plants were seized from the woman's home, after it became known she was advertising them for sale on Gumtree and Facebook earlier this year.
Agriculture Victoria also became aware the woman had given away a water hyacinth plant as part of a larger sale of plants between February and April 2016.
The woman was sentenced without conviction in the Werribee Magistrate's Court to a good behaviour bond for 12 months with conditions to pay $500 to the Nature West Landcare Network.
Water hyacinth originates from Brazil and is a highly invasive plant that can form dense mats across waterways, rendering them unusable for transport and recreation.
Infestations can also kill aquatic life by blocking light from penetrating the water and reducing oxygen levels in the water. Once water hyacinth enters a waterway, significant economic costs can be incurred to control the infestation.
While water hyacinth is widespread in countries like Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and also in parts of eastern Australia, it is currently not established in Victoria.
Agriculture Victoria Biosecurity Officer Annie Lamb said Efforts to prevent water hyacinth from becoming widespread in Victoria and causing major damage to waterways are therefore a priority for Agriculture Victoria.
"Anyone who sells plants, whether it is via a nursery or the internet, needs to confirm the identity of the plants they are selling. This will prevent high risk invasive plants from spreading throughout Victoria."
"These plants were sold on Facebook in the morning and turned up almost 100 kilometres away by that evening, demonstrating just how quickly and easily this problem can spread throughout the environment."
"If you think you may have water hyacinth plants, or may have seen them, please contact Agriculture Victoria on 136 186 immediately. Agriculture Victoria will remove water hyacinth plants at no cost to the landholder."
For more information about water hyacinth visit the Agriculture Victoria website.
Categorised under: Biosecurity,Prosecution