Rural

Help stop spread of dangerous aquatic weed

The Amazon Frogbit infestation near Forster. Image supplied by NSW DPI

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is asking for the public’s help to contain a new aquatic weed, following the detection of Amazon Frogbit in the mid north coast’s Great Lakes region.

This is the first time an infestation of this prohibited weed has been discovered in NSW.

DPI’s Manager of Invasive Species Programs, Scott Charlton said that members of the public can help stop the spread of the pest plant by reporting any sightings in waterways, and ensuring they don’t buy or sell it.

“As well as being a priority weed, Amazon Frogbit (Limnobium laevigatum) is declared ‘prohibited matter’ under the Biosecurity Act, which means it’s illegal to buy or sell this plant in NSW,” Mr Charlton said.

“Although being banned from sale since 2014, Amazon Frogbit is still being sold illegally on internet shopping sites like eBay and Gumtree for use in aquariums and ponds.

“Knowing that this is how it is spread, we ask that people make themselves aware of what plants they are purchasing online and ensure they never buy or sell Amazon Frogbit – or any prohibited matter.

“There are heavy fines in place for offences committed under the Biosecurity Act.”

Under the new Biosecurity Act, everyone in NSW now has a general biosecurity duty to minimise biosecurity risks, and Mr Charlton said that there are specified “mandatory measures” that must be taken in relation to Amazon Frogbit.

“The mandatory measure for this plant is that you are not allowed to deal with the plant – this means that you cannot buy, grow, sell or trade it, and if you find this plant, or become aware of people selling it, you also have a duty to notify NSW DPI,” Mr Charlton said.

“If a person complies with these mandatory measures they will have discharged their general biosecurity duty.”

Amazon Frogbit originates from fresh water habitats of tropical and subtropical central and South America, and has the potential to seriously degrade our ecosystems if left untreated.

To report any suspected sightings of Amazon Frogbit, phone the aquatic pest reporting hotline on 1800 680 244.

Source: NSW DPI

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