Frequently Asked Questions

Could didymo spread to lakes throughout New Zealand?

Yes. Although didymo prefers a river environment with clear water flowing over stable substrate at depths sufficient for light penetration to drive photosynthesis, blooms have been found in South Island Lakes. Lake Wakatipu, for example, contains visible didymo on some parts of the lake shore.

If I see something I think is didymo, what should I do?

If you see something you suspect is didymo in an unaffected river, please report the location of the find to the Ministry for Primary Industries on 0800 809 966.

Why do we need statutory declaration for the survey exemption?

This provides additional assurance to MAF that the information is correct. MAF is willing to look at alternative arrangements for implementation of the exemption. We will discuss this with MAF over the next few months, but at the moment the requirement remains.

In what environments does didymo establish?

Freshwater environments suitable for the establishment of didymo include cool water, stable riverbed and waterflows, high light availability, moderate flow velocity, and pH neutral or slightly alkaline.

How do other countries manage Varroa?

If varroa is established in a country, a successful approach for the beekeeping industry is likely to include:

  • not destroying infested hives;
  • developing smart movement controls and applying them judiciously;
  • very promptly getting overseas expertise to upskill the industry (and regulators) on what management and regulatory approaches to take;
  • surveillance to monitor the spread of varroa and alert beekeepers to the need to control;
  • putting a lot of resources into beekeeper education on management and control;
  • working out ways to coordinate control on an area basis;
  • carrying out research to identify the best management practices for controlling mites under local conditions;
  • taking a strategic approach to registering chemical controls.
Why did we give clearance to the consignment of zebra danio fish in the first place?

At the time we were acting on the best information available. The importer believed the fish were dyed (which is apparently not uncommon in aquarium fish circles). A veterinarian inspected the fish under UV light (used to pick up fluorescence which is a tell-tale sign of GM in this case). No obvious fluorescence was observed and the importer’s assertion that they were dyed was entirely plausible.

Are there trade implications for New Zealand?

No measures have been taken regarding New Zealand's trade, nor should they be. New Zealand is free from scrapie and to date has found no evidence of atypical scrapie. This status remains unchanged.

In countries where atypical scrapie exists, no additional food safety measures have been put in place and it does not appear to affect their ability to trade sheep products.

New Zealand, as a mature exporting country, has always undertaken the surveillance and research necessary to clearly define the health status of its animal populations,

Who is on the Steering Group for NPPA?

The Steering Group is the decision-making body and has oversight for the Accord. It comprises representatives from the Ministry for Primary Industries, the Nursery and Garden Industry Association, regional councils and the Department of Conservation.

What does the name Didymosphenia geminata mean?

Didymosphenia, derived from the Latin 'didymos', means double. Likewise, geminata, derived from the Latin word 'geminus', means twin born, paired or double. Both of these words refer to the bilateral microscopic shape of the organism which looks like a curved bottle with paired bulbous ends. This is due to the pairing of two halves of the silicified cell wall which fit together like a Petri dish, with one half slightly smaller than the other.

What kind of signs do I need? Where should they be placed?

A clearly visible sign (or signs) will be required to let people know they are entering an approved Transitional Facility area, and only permitted persons are allowed access. They can be placed where they are most appropriate to your facility (eg entry ways). This will be checked by your MAFBNZ Inspector. An example sign is shown below.