Defining Best Practices for Biofouling Management as a Way to Increase Biosecurity

GMA 400 - Senior Seminar Research

Marine invasive species are a major threat to the environments they are introduced to. With the rise in international shipping, it has been found the number of invasive species established around the world has increased drastically. Ships have two main vectors that transport these species: ballast water and biofouling. Ballast water is internationally regulated and biofouling regulations are the next step in combatting the invasive species problem. There are guidelines provided by the International Maritime Organization for biofouling management and new mandatory laws for management in California and New Zealand as of this year, 2018. These regulations have provided opportunities that help policy makers understand the importance of certain best practices including the use of biofouling management plans with accompanying record books, the use of anti-fouling coatings, and the role of routine hull cleaning. Each practice comes with its own challenges that must be overcome by the development of technologies and resources that benefit the environment rather than further causing unintentional harm. The case study of international ballast water regulations gives an indication of how the world is reacting to the marine invasive species problem and shows the likely next steps for biofouling regulations spreading to an international level. Through interaction between the California State Lands Commission, the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries, and Hawaiian, Canadian, and Australian environmental agencies, promulgation for biofouling management has a likely future as multilateral policy across the Pacific states. This, in turn can easily spread to become international law through the International Maritime Organization Marine Environment Protection Committee.