Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

How will vessels be inspected to meet emerging biofouling regulations for the prevention of marine invasions?

Abstract

International and national guidelines and regulations to limit the inadvertent transfer of non-native species on the submerged surfaces of vessels and mobile infrastructure are progressing. However, methods to assess compliance must be developed to assist both regulators and industry. While there is a history of biofouling inspections in maritime industries, including commercial shipping and infrastructure, such surveys are tailored for vessel safety and performance rather than being driven by biosecurity purposes. Thus, these inspections are likely inadequate for confirming compliance with biosecurity regulations. To determine regulatory compliance, agencies will likely rely on a combination of risk profiling, assessment of documentation of biofouling management, archival data and images, and real-time in-water surveys made by divers or remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) specific to biosecurity regulations. Divers may exceed ROVs at finding organisms in recesses and other topographically complex areas, and when regulations require confirmation of species identity or viability. In contrast, ROVs may be well suited for regulations that establish upper thresholds on biofouling levels with little concern for organism identity or condition. Several factors will inform how a survey is conducted, including cost, the type of data required by regulations, environmental conditions, safety, and logistics. Survey designs and requirements should be transparent to manage industry's expectations of border procedures, to increase the efficiency with which industry and agencies manage biofouling and potentially align the evaluation of best practices in hull and niche area maintenance across jurisdictions.