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Marine Pest Risks Associated With Biofouling

Marine species have been moved around the world in many ways, including both intentional and accidental means of transport.


For a number of years, concern has focussed on vessel traffic, specifically the transport of species in ballast water. More recently, the focus has shifted to species that attach on the external surfaces of vessels, including commercial, fishing, and non-trading vessels such as barges, dredges, tugs and recreational yachts. These species are collectively known as biofouling.


Biofouling is now widely recognised as one of the most important transport mechanisms leading to the establishment of IMS. Numerous species are known to be introduced around the world, several of which are not yet in Australia. This suggests there is a risk to Australias marine environment and industries. The need to predict the next invaders associated with various transport methods remains high. Previous work has identified likely invasions via ballast water, but the life history characteristics necessary for ballast water transport are different from those needed to attach to a vessel as biofouling and survive the transport process.


The aim of this study was to describe the development and application of a risk assessment targeting biofouling species. The risk assessment identifies biofouling pests and evaluates the likely impacts to Australias marine environment. This risk assessment follows a five step process: identify endpoints; identify hazards; determine consequences; determine likelihood; and calculate risk. It evaluated risk across three identified endpoints: inoculation, establishment and spread.

Extract from a study undertaken by the Australian Maritime College, University of Tasmania and Aquenal for the Australian Government (Department of Agiculture, Fisheries and Forestry).
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