The Northern Pacific Seastar (NPSS) is a voracious predator that consumes a wide variety of native and non-native marine organisms. It can spawn thousands of larvae each year and rapidly establishes large colonies.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and RMIT University are working on two different components of a project to monitor for the presence of NPSS and other invasive marine pests in the Gippsland Lakes.

In 2015, five Northern Pacific Seastar were found in the Gippsland Lakes.

About the project

The aim of this project is to monitor for the presence of Northern Pacific Seastar and other invasive marine pests in the Gippsland Lakes

This project will include:

  • Underwater video surveillance in key spots to find Northern Pacific Seastars
  • Water sampling to find Northern Pacific Seastar larvae
  • Monitoring for other marine pests using settlement growth plates
  • Provide information about how to reduce the threat from marine pests


Impacts of marine pests:

  • Marine pests can cause significant environmental disturbance and harm. This can also lead to economic losses.
  • Invasive marine pests are prolific breeders and establish large populations quickly, competing with native species for resources such as space, food and light.
  • There is a range of marine pests known to be in the Gippsland Lakes including:
    • Asian Bag Mussel (Arcuatula senhousia),
    • European Green Crab, (Carcinus maenas),
    • Northern Pacific Sea Star (Asterias amurensis),
    • Pacific Oyster (Crassostrea gigas)
    • a range of ascidians – Ciona intestinalis, Molgula manhattensis, Styela clava.

New data from the monitoring and research in this project will be used to:

  • Map trends in population numbers and expansion into other locations around the Gippsland Lakes.
  • Provide information on marine pest biology (seasonality/spawning).
  • Identify how the marine pests are moving within and between various marine environments (ie lakes, ocean) which will then be used to help address the problem.
  • Educate and provide information to boaters, fishers, businesses and government agencies.

What can you do?

To report sightings of marine pests, take a photo and send it to marine.pests@ecodev.vic.gov.au. In the email include the location of the sighting, the time of sighting and the date of sighting.


This project is funded by the Victorian State Government for the Gippsland Lakes.

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