Reducing the spread of marine pests

The most effective control of marine pests is to prevent their introduction.

Why marine pests are a problem

Marine pests can disperse naturally but they are also often transported across the world on the hulls of vessels (biofouling) and in the ballast water of ships. Once introduced, they threaten native biodiversity, commercial fisheries and aquaculture industries, and greatly increase maintenance requirements for vessels. These pests may also interfere with port activities.

Once in Victorian waters, marine pests can be spread further by a range of vessels either attached to the hull, in gear or areas that are not cleaned and dried thoroughly. Microscopic algal spores and tiny eggs floating in water in the bottom of your boat can stay alive for months. In mooring areas and marinas, boat hulls can quickly become infested which can result in the rapid spreading of pests around the state.

Also see Managing aquarium species for information about disposing of aquarium species.

Federal requirements

In 2017, mandatory ballast water management requirements for international shipping came into force to reduce the likelihood of marine pest introductions. Victoria is now working with other Australian governments on the development of requirements for managing biofouling.

Page last updated: 17 Jan 2022