Biosecurity Week celebrating excellence at the Port of Tauranga
As the kiwifruit industry knows, pests and diseases from offshore can cause serious harm to New Zealand's unique environment and primary industries; and the Port of Tauranga is one of many potential gateways.
Biosecurity Week started Monday and activities highlight the importance of biosecurity and the role that everyone in the Bay of Plenty can play in managing unwanted biosecurity risks.
The week is part of the biosecurity excellence partnership between Port of Tauranga, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), KVH, NZ Avocado, Dairy NZ, Forestry Owners Association, NZ Customs and Bay of Plenty Regional Council.
The award-winning partnership aims to build a port community committed to biosecurity excellence, with an ambitious goal of no biosecurity incursions coming through the Port of Tauranga. It is a successful regional example of MPI, local industries and regional government, partnering to build a biosecurity team of 4.7 million New Zealanders.
It also benefits from strong engagement with the science community, including a formal partnership with the New Zealand’s Biological Heritage national science challenge and the B3 (Better Border Biosecurity) science collaboration. This has been boosted by a $1.95 million co-funded research project with B3 to trial new tools and technologies in the port environment, monitor biosecurity awareness amongst the local community, and measure the impacts of changes on biosecurity risk.
During the week KVH and initiative partners are talking to people who work on and around the Port about biosecurity and the fact it’s an important issue that affects everyone.
Port staff, transitional facilities, associated industries (such as transporters and other logistical operators), and biosecurity experts are meeting at several events over the week to raise awareness and understanding of the importance of managing biosecurity risk.
Special guest Ruud 'The Bug Man' Kleinpaste will also be attending several Port and school group presentations over the next few days to discuss the vital role of everyone who works and lives in and around the Port and local community in keeping unwanted pests and diseases out of New Zealand.
Port of Tauranga Chief Executive Mark Cairns says the week provides a good opportunity to strengthen the significance of biosecurity within the Port community because effective biosecurity awareness is critical to running a successful business and being able to continue to service the Bay of Plenty region. Frontline port staff are the ones most likely to first notice an unwanted pest on cargo, vehicles or equipment moving off the port. By knowing what to look for and reporting unfamiliar insects or suspicious looking pests they help protect everyone’s livelihood and the future of the kiwifruit, avocado and forestry sectors.