Industry Issues

Invasive Species

Aquatic INVASIVE Species

Aquatic Invasive Species: Includes aquatic plants (phytoplankton), aquatic animal species (zooplankton) and aquatic pathogens that are not native and that may flourish in a new marine environment when introduced by various vectors, one of which is shipping. The presence of aquatic invasive species may cause ecosystem and infrastructure damage, economic losses and may pose risks to human health. Shipping related pathways for the transfer of aquatic invasive species include vessel ballast water and hull fouling, which are discussed below.  Learn more

Ballast Water: The World Shipping Council is working with a number of organizations on an effective solution for managing ballast water discharges from vessels so as to minimize the environmental risk they present as a pathway for the transfer of aquatic invasive species.

Hull Fouling: Hull fouling is a potential vector for transferring aquatic species. The potential for vessels to transfer aquatic species is a function of how effective the anti-fouling system is that is used by a particular vessel and whether organisms can be transported via "niche-fouling" in sea chests, and other structures where the antifouling system is unable to perform in the same manner as coatings subjected to more typical water flow conditions. Since it is extremely costly for large commercial vessels to allow significant fouling of their hulls, it stands to reason that the risk of transfer is more likely associated with "niche fouling" or through smaller vessels that may not use effective antifouling systems. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is currently evaluating the issue of hull fouling as a vector for the transfer of aquatic species and is specifically looking at the risks associated with "niche fouling" and other related considerations.

Other Invasive Species

Asian Gypsy Moths: Asian gypsy moths (AGM) are a highly destructive environmental pest, whose eggs can be transported aboard ships and on international shipping containers. The U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), an agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), closely monitors AGM populations in seaport areas in Japan, China, Korea, and Far East Russia. During the annual AGM infestation season, which runs from June to October, APHIS and is counterpart agency in Canada (the Canadian Food Inspection Agency ro "CFIA") require vessels calling at the highest risk Asian ports and bound for U.S. and Canadian ports to obtain pre-departure certifications that they are "AGM free." APHIS and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and CFIA officers also inspect arriving vessels to ensure they are not infested with AGM egg masses. Vessels found to have more than "several" egg masses onboard, will either be detained in port until the egg masses are removed or will be ordered to return to sea to remove the egg masses prior to being allowed entry into the U.S. and Canada. Learn more from USDA.

Wood Packaging Materials: The International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM15) is an international standard adopted by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) to prevent the spread of invasive pests in wood packaging materials made of unprocessed raw wood, which is recognized as a pathway for the introduction and spread of pests. ISPM15 requires wood packaging materials used in international trade to be either heat-treated or fumigated and then marked with the IPPC logo and the country code in which the treatment occurred. Learn more from USDA .