Otago Regional Council's reponse to lake snow: A planners evaluation.
Invasive species are a threat to the economy, environment and community, therefore it is essential that there is an effective framework in place for biosecurity management in New Zealand, to ensure that planners within local authorities are able to competently respond to invasive species within their region. The main aim of this research was to identify potential ‘implementation gaps’ that influence the overall effectiveness of the biosecurity framework within the New Zealand context. Otago Regional Council’s approach to lake snow (algae) will be used as case study. The Biosecurity Act (BSA) 1993 is an overarching statute responsible for restating rules and policies for exclusion, eradication and management of unwanted organisms. Under the BSA every local authority has the power to determine whether pests are unwanted organisms, and provide further surveillance of pests, and any action required to manage and control unwanted pest in the region. This research argues that how an unwanted organism is framed can strongly influence how regional council’s respond to an unwanted organism. Non-government organisations and freshwater scientists have framed lake snow as a biological risk at the earlier stages of detection, whereas Otago Regional Council was reluctant to frame lake snow as a biological incursion due to the lack of scientific evidence. Otago Regional Council’s slow response allowed lake snow to rapidly spread through Lake Wanaka and, neighbouring lakes such as Lake Hawea and Wakatipu becoming unmanageable nuisance for communities, anglers, and recreationist. There is high uncertainty surrounding invasive pests in New Zealand, therefore, it is difficult to detect invasive pests and determine the effects that they may pose to the overall health of water users and water quality. To improve the overall effectiveness of regional planning under the Biosecurity Act 1993, it is recommended to increase the coordination and collaboration between government and non-governmental organisations, create precautionary invasive pests fund, , establish guidelines on identification pest, acknowledgement of uncertainties and risk of biological invasions, and lastly, develop an international database on invasive species, where knowledge is shared. Further research on monitoring and identification technology, and understanding freshwater ecological natural systems is advised. The recommendations and future research are essential to improving the in implementation of a biosecurity framework within regional planning in New Zealand.... [Show full abstract]
Keywordslake snot/snow; Lake Wanaka; Ministry for Primary Industries; Otago Regional Council; risk; uncertainty; biosecurity; framework
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