Study on ballast water management for prevention and control of invasive species introductions.
Ballast water may pose serious ecological problems due to the multitude of marine species transferred by ships' ballast water which may survive to establish a reproductive population in the host environment, becoming invasive, out-competing native species and multiplying into pest proportions, causing enormous damage to biodiversity. The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention) was adopted at a Diplomatic Conference held by IMO, 2004, developed a formulated appropriate system for ballast water management. Although the Convention has not enter into force yet, several States such as US, Australia have already taken individual action and implemented national, regional and local ballast water management regulations. In China, the current legislations relating to ballast water are mainly limited to prevent pollution and transfer of harmful pathogens, but do not prevent introductions of nonindigenous species. In this paper, we made following suggesting for ballast water management to prevent introductions of nonindigenous species: (1) perfect legislation on ballast water management as soon as possible; (2) require that vessels exchange ballast water at deep sea before entering China waters; (3) strengthen background investigation of native species in the port and coastal waters; (4) conduct technical study on ballast water management; (5) develop multiple coordination mechanism of relating government sectors; (6) prepare to carry out ballast water management for China flag vessels at the earliest possible time.