Marine Biosecurity

Invasive species refer to species that are new to a region and have negative impact in their new environment – ecologically, economically, and socially. High volume transfer of biota globally driven by faster intercontinental commerce has resulted in increasing incidences of invasions. The spread of pest organisms across borders has resulted in huge economic costs incurred for prevention, control and remediation. As shipping accounts for almost 90% of the transportation in global trade, it is recognised that ships are an important vector for transfer of aquatic organisms across geographic regions. In response, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has in recent years addressed such issues by implementing of the International Antifouling Convention (which entered into force on 16 Sept 2008) and the Convention for the Management of Ship Ballast and Sediments (resolution was passed in Dec 2004). An IMO Correspondence Group has now been formed to develop a Convention for control of hull fouling. In addition, many countries are developing independent biosecurity measures and sea border controls. It is widely expected in the shipping industry that by 2012, border controls into many major Ports will be tightened accordingly.

Given the general lack of awareness of biosecurity issues in Asia, it is thus, a multi-disciplinary approach involving academia, government managers, social scientists, and shipping industry is needed to tackle the issue. To ensure that initiatives are based on sound science and provide technical solutions that are practical, research is needed for collation of information from across several disciplines to ensure development of the knowledge base, to strengthen the interface between scientific and policymaking communities and develop appropriate management tools for integration of activities between our national agencies.

TMSI continues to actively support research in ballast water management and technology development by providing expertise in the understanding of marine organisms in ballast water and the biological evaluation of ballast water samples. Research collaborations included projects with the Institute for Environment Science and Engineering (Singapore) and the Smithsonian Environment Research Centre (USA). Contact us







Mytilopsis sallei, invasive mussel from the Caribbean



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