Revised protocols for baseline port surveys for introduced marine species : survey design, sampling protocols and specimen handling
reportposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Chad HewittChad Hewitt, R Martin
A prerequisite for any attempt to control the introduction and spread by shipping of non-indigenous marine pest species in Australian waters is knowledge of the current distribution and abundance of introduced species in Australian ports. This information base is lacking for a majority of Australian ports. The Australian Ballast Water Management Advisory Council (ABWMAC), the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Resource Management (SCARM), and the Australia and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC) State of the Environment (SoE) Reporting TaskForce, have all recognised the need for baseline studies to determine the extent to which introduced species have established in Australian waters. In response to these needs, the CSIRO Centre for Research on Introduced Marine Species (CRIMP) and various state agencies have commenced a national port survey program designed to define the occurrence of non-indigenous species in Australian ports. Given the number of agencies and research organisations that will potentially participate in a national port survey program, a high priority was given to developing a standardised set of survey methods that would provide a consistent basis on which to assess the introduced species status of individual ports. Surveys designed to identify all non-indigenous species in a port will inevitably be subject to scientific, logistic and cost constraints that will limit both their taxonomic and spatial scope. Recognition of these constraints led CRIMP to adopt a targeted approach that concentrates on a known group of species and provides a cost-effective collection of baseline data for all ports. While these surveys specifically target designated pest species, they are also designed to determine the distribution and abundance of other introduced species in a port. The surveys will also identify species of uncertain status (cryptogenic, that is not known if they are endemic or introduced) that are abundant in a port and/or are likely to become major pest species.This report reviews the general protocols developed by CRIMP for introduced species port surveys in 1996, and updates and provides evidence to support the recommended methodologies. The survey design and sampling protocols are outlined to encourage the adoption of a broad and consistent approach to the problem. Triggers for post survey monitoring regimes and factors influencing the frequency of resurveying are also discussed.