Molecular techniques are advancing rapidly and are increasingly promoted in aquatic systems observations. These methods are particularly useful for early detection of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens (HAOP) which may be transported in ballast water or on ship hulls including potential HAOP such as newly arriving non-indigenous species (NIS). The identification of NIS, surveillance of high-priority pest species, determination of the source and pathways of invasion, as well as the genetic structure of the founding populations can be solved with new tools. Molecular monitoring is needed in order to address all biotic components as NIS may belong to any trophic level and be found in various man-made as well as natural habitats.
Non-indigenous species (NIS) monitoring is to address all biotic communities as NIS may belong to any taxonomic group and be found in various man-made as well as natural habitats. There has not been a monitoring programme to target especially NIS in the Baltic Sea but presently observations have been collected from various surveys and programmes in place.
Currently in a beta-testing phase, HELCOM and OSPAR’s joint online tool for facilitating decisions on granting exemptions on ballast water management in their waters is soon getting a new interface as well as additional and improved features.
The tool was initially jointly developed by HELCOM and OSPAR to assist decision-making by their respective member countries on exemptions on ballast water management such as discharges in their waters. Since 2017, ballast water from ships is being strictly regulated by an IMO guideline, the Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC).
Did you know that crabs by crawling along the coast can overcome up to 1000 km long distance? Chinese mitten crabs are one of the species that step by step occupy Baltic Sea, bringing on their back also other small organisms. It was originally introduced to the North Sea by international shipping, and from there spread gradually also to the Baltic Sea.
To understand how these organisms spread and how to prevent Baltic Sea from new invaders, scientists from different countries work together and carry out many activities in ports, marinas and laboratories all around the Baltic sea. Now some of these activities, performed by COMPLETE project partners, are documented in a movie called “Baltic hitchhikers”.
The main target of this documentary is to raise public awareness of spread of invasive species in Baltic Sea via shipping. 26 minutes long documentary is focusing on biofouling issues and illustrates how species can travel around when they attach to the hulls of ships and leisure boats. In the documentary experts and sailors explains what kind of impact small organisms can have on sailing and also environment. In the documentary it is possible not only to learn about concrete examples and sailors experience, but also find out what scientists do to “catch” traces left by these organisms and how new research and monitoring methods can be implemented in the Baltic Sea region
Keep the Archipelago Tidy Association (KAT) is a Finnish environmental organisation for boaters and all those travelling in and around Finnish waterways. The association was established in 1969 and it serves the archipelago and coastal regions, as well as the network of lakes in the Finnish Lakeland region. The activities of the association are diverse and concrete, ranging from environmental maintenance and educational work to national and international project work. Projects often concentrate on issues concerning boating, marine litter, eutrophication, and the influx of harmful chemicals in the Baltic Sea.
Many databases on the registration of non-indigenous species (NIS) were developed within short-term national or regional projects and disappeared shortly after the end of the project. To avoid this problem, it was decided, as early as during the planning of the COMPLETE project, that instead of creating a new NIS database from scratch, we will use and further advance AquaNIS, an information system on aquatic non-indigenous and cryptogenic species. This system was developed during the course of an EU FP7 project VECTORS, and inherited data from many previous European, regional, and national projects. Thus, the COMPLETE project uses an existing platform to assemble, store, and disseminate biological data, especially on newly arriving NIS, which may become harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens (HAOP).
2–6 March 2020
Meetings of two working groups of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), i.e. the Working Group on Ballast and Other Ship Vectors (WGBOSV) and the Working Group on Introductions and Transfers of Marine Organisms (WGITMO), were held on 2–6 March 2020 in Gdynia, Poland. This event was organized as a part of the COMPLETE project for exchanging the latest progress of the project with these working groups. Each group met for 3 days, with one day being a joint day. In total, 33 participants (including 9 representing the COMPLETE project) from 16 countries, such as Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, the Netherlands, Iceland, Canada, Lithuania, Latvia, Germany, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, the USA, and the United Kingdom took part in both meetings. Among them was also a representative of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). In addition, 7 participants from 5 countries (Germany, USA, Canada, Finland, and Sweden) presented their talks remotely.
The role of leisure boats in the spreading of alien species in the Baltic Sea Region is largely unknown. The number of leisure boats operating in the Baltic Sea Region is growing, and the risk of potential new introductions is also increasing. It is essential to be aware of this risk and its magnitude in order to address the issue with the most cost-effective measures. As a part of COMPLETE activities, a study will be carried out in summer 2020 together with Kari “Ruffe” Nurmi and his sailing boat, which will be literally used as an experimental vessel.
2-6 March 2020
Meeting of two working groups of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), i.e. the Working Group on Ballast and Other Ship Vectors (WGBOSV) and the Working Group on Introductions and Transfers of Marine Organisms (WGITMO) will be held in 2-6 March 2020 at the University of Gdansk in Gdynia, Poland.
Gothenburg, Sweden – January 2020
Working for COMPLETE project partner Chalmers University of Technology, doctoral candidate Dinis Reis Oliveira will defend his PhD thesis entitled “Roughest hour – approaches to ship hull fouling management”. The event will take place in Gothenburg on Friday January 24th 2020 (10.00 AM), and will count with field expert Dr. Kelli Hunsucker (Florida Tech – USA) as opponent.