Species from around the world that are "hitching a lift" on ships threaten Antarctica's pristine marine ecosystem.
Invasive Species Resources
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Canada's coasts and waterways are vital to our environment, livelihoods, and economy, and must be protected. Ballast water, which helps keep vessels stable in the water, can accidentally introduce and spread aquatic invasive species, like the zebra mussel, if released in the water untreated. To further protect Canadian waters, the Government of Canada is taking action to limit the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species in ballast water. Today, the Canadian Minister of Transport announced the coming into force of the new Ballast Water Regulations to strengthen existing rules for vessels on international voyages and the introduction of new rules for vessels which remain in Canada and on the Great Lakes. These regulations, which replace the Ballast Water Control and Management Regulations, apply to vessels in Canadian waters and to Canadian vessels anywhere in the world. Vessels are now required to:
- plan their ballast water management and reduce the number of organisms in their ballast water, typically by installing a ballast water management system; and
- carry a valid certificate, keep records, and be regularly surveyed and inspected. Smaller vessels may follow an equivalent approach tailored to their operations and size.
International Maritime Organization.
A newly signed project is set to provide pilot projects in developing countries in order to demonstrate technical solutions for biofouling management, address the transfer of invasive aquatic species and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from ships. Biofouling is the accumulation of aquatic organisms on wetted or immersed surfaces such as ships and other offshore structures.
The project complements the existing Global Environment Facility (GEF)/United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)/IMO GloFouling Partnerships Project, which aims to support its lead partnering and partnering countries to implement IMO's Biofouling Guidelines (PDF | 134 KB).
Ontario's Invading Species Awareness Program (Canada).
National Biodiversity Data Centre (Ireland).
With increased movement of people and goods around the world, there is an increased introduction of alien (non-native) species to new areas where they can become invasive. Key to this, is knowing how the invasive species are likely to be introduced and acting to prevent further introductions through those pathways. The purpose Pathway Action Plans is to raise public awareness as well as to prevent unintentional introductions by minimizing the contamination of goods, commodities, vehicles and equipment by IAS, and ensuring appropriate checks at EU Union borders.
New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries. Biosecurity New Zealand; National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.
New Zealand is the first country to implement nationwide regulations to manage risks associated with biofouling on international vessels. The development of this regulation and its implementation can serve as a blue-print for other jurisdictions that are interested in preventing the spread on non-indigenous marine species.
Australian Invasive Species Council.
A new report has identified an international 'bug superhighway' capable of carrying a large variety of environmentally destructive overseas insects into Australia. The study, led by Monash University, rated the environmental harm being caused by 100 of the worst overseas insect species and recommends a string of actions to keep them out of Australia. The most dominant group of invasive insects by far are the hymenopteran insects – ants, bees and wasps – making them the world's most environmentally harmful invasive insect species.
"Our report found that environmentally harmful bugs, beetles, ants and moths are most likely to hitch a ride into Australia along an international bug superhighway made up of imported plants, nursery material and the timber trade," said report author Professor Melodie McGeoch from Monash University. The report identifies the international trade in cut flowers and foliage as a high-risk pathway for more than 70 of the species studied. Invasive Species Council CEO Andrew Cox said this is the first time Australian and international scientists have comprehensively analysed which invasive insects overseas are doing the most environmental harm and could therefore threaten Australia's natural environment if they breach the nation's borders.