Widespread sea squirt seen as 'real worry'

NEW ZEALAND - Invasive sea squirt is widespread around Port Lyttelton, posing a real threat to Banks Peninsula mussel farms, Biosecurity New Zealand confirmed last night. </b> <br><br> Divers yesterday surveyed the port and despite low visibility found several samples of the tiny pest, which has devastated overseas aquaculture industries. <br><br> Sea squirt, also known as Styela clava or clubbed tunicate, was confirmed at Port Lyttelton&#39;s Gladstone Pier last week. The more extensive searches yesterday showed the pest was widespread, Biosecurity senior marine adviser Brendan Gould told The Press last night. <br><br> Edward Aitken, director of several Banks Peninsula mussel farms, last night described the new finds as &quot;very worrying&quot;. <br><br> &quot;Most of these things can be dealt with, but anything that&#39;s going to create an extra workload is going to narrow the margins,&quot; Aitken said. <br><br> Gould said that a sample taken from the harbour in 2002 by a PhD student had recently been confirmed as sea squirt as a result of publicity about the pest invasion. <br><br> <i>Source:</I>

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