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Rationale for Ballast Water Treatment Standards to Minimize Translocation of Unwanted Species

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The transfer of unwanted species via ships' ballast water has become recognized as a major problem worldwide. Thousands of species of plants and animals are transported around the world daily, and colonization leading to infestations of many species has been well documented. Individual countries as well as international regulatory agencies are currently attempting to manage this transport of unwanted species. Currently, ships are required to have ballast water management plans in place, and the only accepted management option is open-ocean ballast water exchange. Due to the limitations of this option, ship-board treatment techniques need to be developed, but, treatment goals and standards currently do not exist. This paper proposes a rational for establishing ballast water treatment standards, so that ship-board technologies can be developed. Specifically, this paper demonstrates that by carefully evaluating past invasions, a group of organisms can be identified which pose a documentable risk of invasion. This group can then be classified by several common parameters, e.g., size, which allows for establishment of treatment options. It is then shown that the most rational standards are those mandating complete removal of high risk organisms, rather that a percentage removal of all organisms.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2002

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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