Legal status: Unwanted Organism (under the Biosecurity Act 1993). It is an offence to knowingly spread an unwanted organism with penalties of up to 5 years imprisonment, and/or a fine of up to $100,000.
Status: This organism is being investigated in New Zealand. Possible sightings should be reported to 0800 80 99 66.
There are currently no treatment options to remove or control didymo in waterways. Because of this, MAFBNZ’s didymo strategy has been a public awareness and behaviour change campaign to encourage freshwater users to 'Check, Clean and Dry' equipment when moving between waterways to slow the spread of didymo.
It is your responsibility to clean your equipment/gear between every waterway no matter where you are situated. This includes both the North and South Islands. If you require more specific information on cleaning your equipmnet please see 'Cleaning Methods for Specific Activities'.
Ban on Felt Soled Waders
Felt soled wading shoes were banned in New Zealand in October 2008. This ban was signed off by the Minister of Conservation as requested and presented by Fish & Game New Zealand. The new condition is part of the Anglers Notice. For more information on these regulations go to http://www.fishandgame.org.nz .
Import Health Standards
In October 2007 MAFBNZ's Import Health Standard for Equipment associated with Animals or Water was updated to require MAF Biosecurity Officers to treat all used freshwater fishing equipment they determine or suspect is NOT COMPLETELY DRY (inside and out), regardless of whether it has been cleaned before coming to New Zealand.
At the international border MAF Biosecurity officers are alert to the dangers of aquatic equipment. On the declaration card filled in by every international passenger is the prompt, "do you have water related equipment"? to help quarantine officers identify passengers with potential risk items.
South Island Controlled Areas
The didymo response is supported by the South Island Didymo Controlled Area, which requires freshwater equipment used in the South Island to be properly cleaned before going to the North Island or elsewhere.
Other Controlled Areas
In addition to the South Island Controlled Area, the Department of Conservation (DOC) established additional controls to reduce the risk of further spread.