Publications: Peer-reviewed journal articles (by staff)

Management options for vessel hull fouling: an overview of risks posed by in-water cleaning

1 January, 2008

Hopkins GA, Forrest BM 2008. Management options for vessel hull fouling: an overview of risks posed by in-water cleaning. Ices Journal of Marine Science 65(5): 811-815


Hull fouling has been identified as an important pathway for the spread of non-indigenous marine species. However, the management of associated biosecurity risks has proven challenging. Left unmanaged, a fouled vessel can pose a biosecurity risk through the detachment and dispersal of viable material, and through spawning by adult taxa upon arrival in a recipient port or region. These risks can be managed effectively through the removal of the vessel to land for defouling (e. g. dry-docking). However, alternative methods are needed for small (e. g. recreational) vessels, as well as for large vessels fouled outside their dry-docking schedule. Among the various treatment options, in-water cleaning is relatively common, although some countries have placed restrictions on this method because of perceived biosecurity risks. Here, we present a conceptual framework that identifies risks posed by in-water cleaning compared with alternatives, including no management. Decisions on the appropriate management option will be influenced by many factors, including the species present, the level of fouling, and the time a vessel spends in a recipient region. It is important that any regulatory changes regarding in-water defouling be supported by relevant research that quantifies the risks associated with the various management options.