Marine pests, such as the Asian green mussel, can hitch a ride to Australia on ships or other vessels. Once established, marine pests have impacts on Australia’s unique environment, economy and way or life. We need to constantly be on the lookout for marine pests, to stop their introduction and spread.
Remotely Operated underwater Vehicles (ROVs) are emerging as a powerful new tool to detect introduced marine pests. These underwater drones can search for pests on the underside of ships, port infrastructure or in the natural environment.
The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has funded the modification of ROVs to make them more powerful surveillance tools, and trained biosecurity personnel in their use. Features such as high-resolution cameras, live streaming of footage, sonar and sample collection tools have been tested and a report outlining the results is now available.
Training videos and documents will also be published on the marine pest website late this year and will be used to support the use of ROVs for biosecurity surveillance.
ROVs are already being used for biosecurity surveillance around Australia and interest is expected to grow as new features are developed, experience in their use is gained and prices continue to drop.
Check out the video of ROVs in action, or find out more about developments in marine biosecurity surveillance using ROVs