Ultrasonic anti-fouling technology successfully combats Australian fan-worm and may provide a solution to the spread of such invasive marine pest species throughout New Zealand’s coastal areas.

If left unchecked, marine invaders such as the Australian fan worm Ficopomatus enigmaticus and Mediterranean fanworm Sabella spallanzanii will continue to spread throughout New Zealand’s coastal waters inflicting significant ecological changes and economic costs.

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Ficopomatus enigmaticus grows in the low intertidal to shallow subtidal on rocks, concrete, wood, shells and other hard surfaces, including pilings and the sides of floating docks, buoys and boat hulls. It can occur as single, separate tubes, or as tangled, agglomerate masses that form incrustations up to 10 cm or more thick. In Argentina’s Mar Chiquita Coastal Lagoon, large masses of Ficopomaticus enigmaticus form round reefs up to 7 m in diameter and 0.5 m deep, scattered over hundreds of hectares

Auckland based DSS Techno Ltd (“DSS”) are the exclusive New Zealand distributors of ASM ultrasonic anti-fouling systems, the most powerful and technically advanced systems of their type available anywhere in the world today, designed and manufactured by ASM.

Initial indications are that this technology is highly effective at controlling aquatic pests.

The up market Whitianga Waterways canal development has become home to the invasive Australian fanworm Ficopomatus enigmaticus.

In November 2012 DSS installed a low-power ASM system of a 21m (46’) Riviera pleasure craft moored in the Whitianga Waterways to test the system’s effectiveness against the Australian fanworm.

Nearly one year later, the vessel has been slipped for maintenance revealing a hull completely free from any fouling by Ficopomatus enigmaticus – in the words of the vessel’s owner “Hull condition 100 percent NO worm or growth just slime (after 1 x year )”


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DSS-ASM are now in discussion with the operators of Whitianga Waterways for wide-scale deployment of ASM systems throughout the canals in an attempt to eradicate the pest from the area completely.

DSS has also been given the go-ahead by Waterfront Auckland to trial the system against the Mediterranean fanworm Sabella spallanzanii in the Viaduct Harbour. This pest has recently been found to have spread to Northland and Tauranga causing great concern among affected parties. DSS’s marine biologist Steve Crow says “I am confident our systems will kill and prevent the spread of Sabella if deployed throughout the affected areas. The only hurdle is cost and how badly the parties concerned want to deal with the problem”.

3 Infested locations are located to commence in January 2014  with ASMP-1200 series.

For more information contact

Steve Crow, MSc (Hons), MBA