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Source: Ministry for Primary Industries

It’s a ‘game’ in which everyone’s a winner – and Biosecurity New Zealand wants to thank all who played it, defeating invasive pests along the way.

Stuart Anderson, deputy director-general Biosecurity New Zealand, says its latest digital campaign – Attack of the Freshwater Pests – was based on a gaming idea and used geo-targeting to reiterate the crucial message of ‘check, clean and dry’.

“New Zealand’s lakes and rivers need our help to stay free of highly invasive weeds and pests. Research told us people want a reminder to make sure they’re not accidentally carrying bits of weed, algal cells or eggs of pest fish when they move between waterways.

“So we sent a ‘clean, check and dry’ prompt to the phones of people like fishers, jetskiers, jetboaters, kayakers and other boaties when they were near a lake or river.”

The digital campaign showed an invasive algae or weed getting on to the gear of a person enjoying our waterways. With the interactive version, viewers could remove or kill the invader with their cursor.

“We were delighted to see that the campaign prompted so many New Zealanders to learn more about freshwater biosecurity – and play their part by doing the right thing.

“We also got a very good response from people waiting at ferry terminals before crossing the Cook Strait,” says Mr Anderson.

“We want to thank them all, because it truly takes all of us to protect the biosecurity that is precious to us.

“Most people know about the algae didymo, which is still only in parts of the South Island, but there are other aggressive invaders that we want to stop, like hornwort, for example, which is still contained in the North Island.

“These are freshwater weeds and pests that can grow or reproduce incredibly quickly and take over a lake or river. That has all sorts of impacts for the health of the waterway, the plants and animals that live there, and the people that live around it or visit.

“If you’re not moving between different waterways, you don’t need to do anything.

“But it’s crucial when you move around, that you need to plan to check your gear for weeds or pests, and clean with a detergent mix to kill algae – and dry your gear for at least 48 hours, whether or not you are able to clean it.”

The campaign supported regional activities undertaken by partner organisations such as regional councils, the Department of Conservation, Fish & Game New Zealand and Te Arawa Lakes Trust, who share the message around the Te Arawa lakes.

Find out more about freshwater biosecurity – Ko Tātou This Is Us

MIL OSI