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Marine biosecurity awareness

Published 5 March 2024 Using social research into recreational boaters' knowledge of the risks of aquatic pests and diseases to develop a communication and behavioural change management program.
content image Cleaning a vessel hull at a slipway. Image supplied by Midcoast Boatyard and Marine


Why is this project important?

Aquatic pests and diseases pose a significant threat to the benefits we derive from the NSW Marine Estate and are a key stressor on our marine environment.

Vessel movement is the key vector for transporting non-native marine invasive species throughout Australia and globally, with biofouling posing one of the most significant threats to these marine environments and ecosystems.

What have we achieved?

Targeted interviews have been undertaken with key NSW marine estate user groups to understand some of the barriers, benefits and drivers encountered in addressing vessel biofouling.

A voluntary online state-wide community survey has been completed, to collect information on how recreational vessel owners use and maintain their vessels that stay in the water while in the NSW marine estate.

What are our next steps?

Based on this information, the project is now working to produce a range of communication tools on what we can do together to better reduce the risk of biofouling in the NSW marine estate.

In NSW the Biosecurity Act 2015 indicates that all waterway users have a responsibility to minimise, prevent or eliminate biosecurity risks posed by their actions in order to meet their general biosecurity duty.

The outcomes of this work also aim to increase understanding of the general biosecurity duty and actions people can take to report suspected marine pests.

More information at NSW Department of Primary Industries, Biosecurity & Food Safety.


This is a state-wide social research and communications project

Local government areas - Statewide

Lead agency

NSW Department of Primary Industries, Biosecurity & Food Safety


Charles Sturt University and the Graham Centre

More information

Marine Pests – NSW Department of Primary Industries
Marine Pests – Australian Government

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