New rules to stop the spread of aquatic pests across the Bay of Plenty came in to force this summer with boat ramp users now required to self-certify that their vessels and trailers are free from freshwater fish and plant pests.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council Biosecurity Manager Greg Corbett explains that the rules contained within the Bay of Plenty Regional Pest Management Plan 2020 – 2030, which became operative on the 17th December 2020, ensure that lake users take an active role in protecting the long term health of the region’s lakes and rivers.
“Ultimately everyone benefits from these new rules. Preventing the spread of aquatic pest plants and fish that can choke the lakes, making them murky and causing the decline of native species, is vital.
“The rules themselves are very much based on common sense and are essentially an extension of the Check, Clean, Dry behaviour that has been promoted nationally for many years.
“This summer is focused on educating people on what the rules are and what is required of them before they head out on the water. Based on last year’s boat ramp checks around the Te Arawa Rotorua lakes we are confident that the new rules reflect the actions that many boat ramp users are already undertaking,” Mr Corbett said.
In addition to ensuring that vessels and trailers are free from freshwater pest fish and pest plants, occupiers of vessels must ensure that no ballast water is transported between locations and that trailers are not left in the water other than for launching or retrieval.
Self-certification checkpoints were set up earlier this year at the most popular boat ramps around the Rotorua Te Arawa lakes. The checkpoints are clearly signposted and have forms that should be completed and displayed on the dashboard of the vehicle used to launch the vessel.
Starting from 30th January Biosecurity staff from Te Arawa Lakes Trust will be visiting the most popular boat ramps in the area to help lake users to understand the new rules and check that they are complying with them.