GPC Home to Award-Winning Program
November 11, 2021
A MARINE pest initiative launched by Queensland Ports Association and Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) across Queensland Ports including Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) is being hailed for its outstanding environmental initiative at this year’s Australian Biosecurity Awards.
The prestigious awards were held this week and recognises the significant commitment to the nation’s biosecurity system.
It’s the second time GPC has received a prestigious biosecurity award, with employee Mike Dixon winning a major award in 2017 for his role in eradicating fire ants at the port.
GPC joins DAF and its neighbouring Queensland ports in receiving the ‘industry award’ after implementing the Queensland Seaports environmental DNA Surveillance program (Q-SEAS program) for early warning detection of Invasive Marine Species.
In 2019, GPC partnered with DAF to implement the surveillance program.
Chief Operating Officer Craig Walker said GPC was honoured to be one of the ports who trialled and adopted the program and would continue to implement similar programs which protected the region’s unique biodiversity.
“Biosecurity is a major priority for us at GPC as there is always potential for translocation of marine pests due to the nature of shipping activities,” Mr Walker said.
“Our environment team have been instrumental in making sure the program was a success and demonstrates what can be achieved through collaboration between industry and government,” he said.
“Our harbour plays an important role in our operations as well as the economy, the environment and of course recreationally and were very proud to implement programs that demonstrate custodianship of this environment,” he said.
The marine pest program includes the deployment of settlement arrays, from four locations within the Port of Gladstone as well as five-yearly plankton tows to identify the presence of any introduced marine pests.
The approach acts as an early warning system and uses molecular diagnostics to detect the introduced marine pests.
The Australian Biosecurity Awards (ABAs) began in 2005 and recognise individuals, groups and organisations that have shown a commitment to supporting and promoting Australia’s biosecurity and the systems that uphold it.