Programme Information

To manage biosecurity risks effectively it is important to know what indigenous and non-indigenous species are already present in our marine environments. In 2001 the New Zealand Government implemented a nationwide programme of biological surveys in ports and marinas throughout New Zealand – places where any new species are most likely to appear first. The purpose of the surveys was to gather baseline information on marine biodiversity within the ports, with a particular emphasis on establishing what non-indigenous species were already present and where.

Between 2001 and 2003, surveys were completed in (from north to south): Opua, Whangarei (port and marina), Gulf Harbour, Auckland (Waitemata), Tauranga, Gisborne, New Plymouth, Napier, Wellington, Picton, Nelson, Lyttelton, Timaru, Otago and Bluff. The surveys were repeated between 2004 and 2006 to add to the species information already collected, reveal any new incursions, and to provide a measure of the success of border control, and pest management actions.

In 2005, the programme was extended to include surveys of a range of secondary, domestic and international ports and marinas within New Zealand. These included the Taharoa Iron Sands Terminal, Port of Onehunga (Manukau Harbour), Milford Sound, Kaipara Harbour Golden Bay Marina (Takaka), Kaikoura, Port Underwood, Stewart Island and the Chatham Islands.

What are PBBS?

The New Zealand port biological baseline surveys were based on protocols developed in Australia by the CSIRO Centre for Research on Introduced Marine Pests (CRIMP) for port surveys of non-indigenous marine species and which have been used in more than 15 countries world wide. They are best described as “generalised pest surveys”, as they are broad-based investigations whose primary purpose is to identify and inventory the range of species (non-indigenous and indigenous) present in a port. They are intended to provide a baseline for monitoring the rate of new incursions by non-indigenous marine species in port environments, and to assist international risk profiling of problem species through the sharing of information with other shipping nations.

Survey Methods used in the PBBS

Sedentary, encrusting organisms

Benthic Infauna


Mobile epifauna