EFFORTS to prevent marine pests and diseases entering Australia are crucial, Department of Agriculture head of security Lyn O’Connell says.

Ms O’Connell, also a Departmental deputy-secretary, spoke at the recent Biofouling Management for Sustainable Shipping Forum in Melbourne.

“We take biosecurity seriously. Marine biosecurity, in particular managing the pathways of biofouling and ballast water, are especially important in order to protect our unique marine environment, our marine industries and infrastructure,” she said.

“We are an island nation, we rely heavily on our marine environment and industries for our food, our trade and our livelihoods. We must protect these through the prevention of introduction of marine pests and diseases.”

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Ms O’Connell said her department was working hard to manage biosecurity risks.

“As many of you would know, we are developing a biofouling policy consistent with the International Maritime Organization’s biofouling guidelines,” she said.

“This policy was informed by many of you who provided input to our 2015 Review of National Marine Pest Biosecurity.”

The review also recommended Australia implements biofouling requirements.

“Our preferred approach promotes proactive biofouling management practices,” she said. More from the Sustainable Shipping Forum will be included in the November print edition of Daily Cargo News as part of a feature on biosecurity, quarantine and fumigation.

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