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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

(Left to right) Brad Kitchen and Dan Pedersen from Pilbara ports with DPIRD's Claire Wellington and Dr.Justin McDonald in Canberra collecting the award for the SWASP program

Wednesday 6 March 2019

National award for WA marine biosecurity

​Western Australia’s marine biosecurity and surveillance system has been singled out on the national stage for a ground-breaking approach to the early detection and identification of marine pests.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and Western Australia port authorities received the Collaborative Industry/Government award at the Australian Biosecurity Awards in Canberra.

The awards ceremony showcases work to minimise the risk of exotic pests and diseases entering Australia, helping to protect Australia’s $60 billion agriculture industries, environment, native flora and fauna, tourism industries and lifestyle.

WA's State-Wide Array Surveillance Program (SWASP) was recognised for its innovative early warning system to detect and respond quickly to a potential marine pest incursion.

The surveillance system is a series of settlement arrays - underwater marine growth collection devices - deployed at 11 State and private ports along the coast to collect DNA samples of marine animals.

Our marine scientists use Next Generation Sequencing to analyse the samples allowing quick and accurate identification of marine pests, as well as capturing other information on the marine environment in the port.

The collaboration between DPIRD and WA ports has heightened awareness among port users of the risks posed by exotic marine pests and that biosecurity is a shared responsibility.


Last modified: 6/03/2019 9:47 AM

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