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Advice to Travellers - Didymo
Are you putting Australia's future on the line?
What is Didymo?
Didymo (Didymosphenia geminata), also known as 'rock snot', is a freshwater alga that is causing serious problems around the world.
Why is it regarded as a danger to Australia?
Didymo is a serious pest that is not currently in Australia but has invaded rivers and lakes in Europe, Asia, North America and New Zealand, choking native waterways.
Didymo is made up of millions of microscopic cells that can’t be seen until a large colony has formed—by which stage it is almost impossible to eradicate.A single live cell is all that is required for Didymo to establish and spread.
What can I do about it?
There is a significant risk that Didymo could enter, establish and spread in Australia via watercraft, sporting, recreational or fishing equipment that has been used in freshwater lakes, streams or waterways whilst overseas. Before bringing items such as fishing rods and nets, waders, kayaks, paddles, life jackets, water skis, wakeboards, wetsuits, hiking boots etc, into Australia, you should:
- ensure all equipment is thoroughly cleaned and dry—NOT WET or DAMP, and
- present all equipment (cleaned or uncleaned) to an AQIS officer for inspection when you arrive. An AQIS officer will inspect the equipment and assess if treatment is required.
Note: Dependent upon the material, some equipment will be subject to mandatory treatment (at the owner's expense) before being allowed into Australia.
You can find more information at www.aqis.gov.au/icon. Search for 'fresh water' to view Australia's import conditions and treatments.
What happens if your goods require treatment?
As Didymo treatment options are limited, the use of an external commercial treatment provider may be required. External treatment may take days or weeks and the commercial treatment rates will be charged to you. Where treatment is not possible, goods may be re-exported or destroyed.
Guide for travellers
15 Jan 2010