The spread of non-native species is
now recognized as one of the greatest threats to the ecological and economic
well-being of the planet, causing enormous damage to native biodiversity and negatively
impacting commercially important natural resources. Shipping vectors, such as ballast water, ballast sediments, in-tank biofouling, and fouled hulls are recognized globally as primary mechanisms for introductions of aquatic non-native species to new habitats. Direct and indirect human health
effects are becoming increasingly serious, and damage to the environment is
often irreversible. Preventing the transfer of aquatic species and coordinating
a timely and effective response to invasions requires prompt cooperation and
collaboration among governments, industry bodies, scientists, lawyers, non-governmental
organizations and international treaty organizations.
As a joint working group, WGBOSV follows and
supports the work of its three umbrella organizations: the International
Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic
Commission of UNESCO (IOC) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
Topics addressed by the WGBOSV include:
submits documents to and participates in meetings at the IMO to ensure that international guidelines are based on accurate scientific
information, thereby helping to achieve consensus on difficult and technical
issues. The group meets annually and functions through extensive collaboration by
expert scientists from all over the world, representing leading knowledge and
expertise on this topic.