Bookmark and Share

Marine pests

There are more than 12,000 plants and animals living in Victoria's coastal waters and one of the biggest threats to this incredible diversity is introduced marine pests.

We can all identify with the impacts feral animals such as the fox, rabbit and carp have on our natural environment, but what about the impact of marine pests?

Introduced marine pests are species that have moved to an area outside of their natural range, generally by human activities. The main culprit is international shipping traffic.

Marine pests come in all shapes and sizes, from microscopic algae to fish, seastars, molluscs and aquatic plants. More than 100 species are known to have been introduced to Port Phillip Bay alone.


Northern Pacific Starfish.

The Northern Pacific Seastar (Asterias amurensis) is a serious pest in Australia. Voracious predators, they eat a wide range of native marine animals. Photo: Bill Boyle.

Some of the main impacts marine pests have on our coastal environment include:

  • Feeding on or competing with native species for food or shelter, seriously affecting habitats, food chains and the entire ecosystem.
  • Affecting the social and economic benefits provided by the marine environment including aquaculture, recreational and commercial fishing.

For a more detailed description of marine pests and the threats they pose to Victoria's marine environment as well as other issues visit the Explore Underwater Victoria website.


Marine and coastal issues