Asian green mussel Weipa
Photo: QLD Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

Asian green mussel found south of Weipa

BIOSECURITY Queensland is conducting surveillance after a single Asian green mussel was confirmed at a site south of Weipa.

Biosecurity Queensland Invasive Plants and Animals general manager John Robertson commended Rio Tinto employees for their vigilance and rapid response in reporting the pest to Biosecurity Queensland. “A marine biologist conducting routine surveillance as part of Rio Tinto’s monitoring spotted the mussel on a settlement plate south of the business’s anticipated Amrun Project port development site,” Dr Robertson said. “With the help of Rio Tinto, we were able to get onto this quickly to remove the mussel and conduct testing to confirm it was an Asian green mussel.”

Asian green mussels are an invasive marine pest that out-compete native species. “They can have economic impacts as they foul hard substrates including vessel hulls, seawater systems, industrial intake pipes, wharves and buoys,” Dr Robertson said. “It’s unknown at this stage how the mussel arrived in Australia but we are conducting a tracing investigation of vessel movements in the area. A surveillance program is also under way to determine the extent of the incursion and develop containment measures. Biosecurity Queensland will continue to work closely with Rio Tinto and North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation as part of the surveillance program.”

Dr Robertson said Asian green mussels had been detected in Queensland on a number of occasions, with the most recent being in Cairns in 2014. “We have been successful in our eradication efforts each time an Asian green mussel has been detected in Queensland,” he said.

Marine businesses are being asked to be vigilant for marine pests such as Asian green mussels, particularly on boats that have recently travelled from areas where these pests are common in the northwestern Pacific from Siberia to Singapore. To report marine pests, contact Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.

Information about Asian green mussel and photos that will help you identify them are available from daf.qld.gov.au

You can follow Biosecurity Queensland on Facebook and Twitter (@BiosecurityQld).

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