According to Biosecurity New Zealand, part of the country's Ministry for Primary Industries, the ships randomly selected to take part in the survey will have to undergo a dive inspection and answer questions about biofouling.

The survey will pinpoint risk factors that influence the extent of biofouling on a commercial vessel visiting New Zealand. It will put us in a better place to target vessels that require further investigation,

...explains Biosecurity New Zealand spokesperson Paul Hallett.

Biofouling constitutes indeed a biosecurity risk to New Zealand’s marine environment, with nearly 90% of marine pests arriving in this country as biofouling on the submerged surfaces of international vessels.

We already scrutinise the biofouling history and voyage records from arriving vessels to determine the biosecurity risk. The survey results will allow us to further refine our risk analysis. The study will also benefit the shipping industry by providing quicker clearance for vessels that pose negligible risk,

...he added.

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The survey will involve underwater inspection of vessel hulls and other submerged areas. The vessel operator will also have to complete a questionnaire on the vessel’s maintenance and movement history.

Biosecurity New Zealand has contracted the Cawthron Institute to undertake the field surveys at a range of ports, starting in August 2020.

The project is to take up to 2 years and involve up to 40 vessels.

With the introduction of Craft Risk Management Risk Standard for Biofouling in May 2018, New Zealand became the first country in the world to introduce nationwide rules to combat biofouling.