Global treaty to halt invasive aquatic species enters into force
The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention) requires ships to manage their ballast water to remove, render harmless, or avoid the uptake or discharge of aquatic organisms and pathogens within ballast water and sediments. The convention entered into force September 8th 2017.
“This is a landmark step towards halting the spread of invasive aquatic species, which can cause havoc for local ecosystems, affect biodiversity and lead to substantial economic loss,” said IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim in a press release.
“The requirements which enter into force today [September 8th] mean that we are now addressing what has been recognized as one of the greatest threats to the ecological and the economic well-being of the planet. Invasive species are causing enormous damage to biodiversity and the valuable natural riches of the earth upon which we depend. Invasive species also cause direct and indirect health effects and the damage to the environment is often irreversible,” he said.
He added, “The entry into force of the Ballast Water Management Convention will not only minimize the risk of invasions by alien species via ballast water, it will also provide a global level playing field for international shipping, providing clear and robust standards for the management of ballast water on ships.”
Ballasttech-NIVA, a wholly owned subsidiary of NIVA, was the first in the world to offer a full range of services to test ballast water treatment systems to meet IMO specifications.
The European project ResponSEAble is developing ocean literacy tools, to make aware and change the attitudes of citizens in relation to marine environment problems. This cartoon shows one of them: the problems associated to shipping and ballast waters, which can introduce invasive species in our coasts. NIVA is a partner in the ResponSEAble project.