Regulations at boat ramps a New Zealand first

New boat ramp signage at Lake Rotoma. Photo: Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

New rules to stop the spread of aquatic pests across the Bay of Plenty come in to force this summer, with boat ramp users now required to self-certify that their vessels and trailers are free from freshwater fish and plant pests.

The rules contained within the Bay of Plenty Regional Pest Management Plan 2020-2030 ensure that lake users take an active role in protecting the long term health of the region's lakes and rivers, says Bay of Plenty Regional Council biosecurity manager Greg Corbett.

“Ultimately everyone benefits from these new rules,” says Greg.

“Preventing the spread of aquatic pest plants and fish that can choke the lakes, making them murky and causing the decline of native species, is vital.

“The rules themselves are very much based on common sense and are essentially an extension of the Check, Clean, Dry behaviour that has been promoted nationally for many years.”

Starting from January 30, biosecurity staff from Te Arawa Lakes Trust will be visiting the most popular boat ramps in the area to help lake users to understand the new rules and check that they are complying with them.

“This summer is focused on educating people on what the rules are and what is required of them before they head out on the water.

“Based on last year’s boat ramp checks around the Te Arawa Rotorua lakes we are confident that the new rules reflect the actions that many boat ramp users are already undertaking.”

In addition to ensuring that vessels and trailers are free from freshwater pest fish and pest plants, occupiers of vessels must ensure that no ballast water is transported between locations and that trailers are not left in the water other than for launching or retrieval.

Self-certification checkpoints have been set up at the most popular boat ramps around the Rotorua Te Arawa lakes.

The checkpoints are clearly signposted and have forms that should be completed and displayed on the dashboard of the vehicle used to launch the vessel.

The new rules

The Bay of Plenty 2020-2030 Regional Pest Management Plan states:

1. No person shall leave boat trailers in any water body other than for the purposes of launching and/or retrieving boats.

2. No person shall transport ballast water from any water body to any other location.

3. All occupiers of vessels or craft entering any water body within the Bay of Plenty shall ensure their vessels or craft (including trailers) are free from freshwater pest fish and freshwater pest plants including fragments.

4. All occupiers of vessels or craft using a boat ramp with a self-certification checkpoint must complete the supplied certification form and display it in the vehicle used to launch the vessel or craft.


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