The ICES/IOC/IMO Working Group on Ballast and Other Ship Vectors (WGBOSV) held three annual meetings in 2016-2018 in order to conduct scientific activities that will re-duce the risk of transporting non-native species via shipping activities. During this peri-od, 60 scientists participated in WGBOSV meetings, including four graduate students/post-doctoral fellows, representing 18 ICES and four IOC countries.
This final report provides a brief summary of progress achieved during the 2018 meeting, and summarizes the work achieved against all terms of reference (ToRs) for the period 2016–2018. WGBOSV considered two ToRs jointly with the Working Group on Introduc-tions and Transfers of Marine Organisms (WGITMO): examining biofouling as vector for the introduction and transfer of aquatic organisms on small boats and large ships; and examining the effect of climate change on the establishment of aquatic species in the Arc-tic. In 2018, the Groups addressed a request for information on ship-mediated introduc-tions of harmful algal bloom species in the Arctic from the Working Group on Harmful Algae Bloom Dynamics (WGHABD), and produced an ICES VIEWPOINT on “Evaluat-ing and mitigating introduction of marine non-native species via vessel fouling”.
During 2016–2018, WGBOSV initiated a special issue on Recent Advances in Ballast Wa-ter Research in the Journal of Sea Research (volume 133, 2018), with 15 articles contribut-ed by WGBOSV members. The Group also collected data for >1500 primary introduction events in aquatic systems, between 1965–2015, across 12 geographic regions globally to assess temporal trends in the introduction of non-native species, determining that path-ways of introduction have changed in relative importance over time and across regions. In addition, the Group reviewed the status of introduced marine species in the Arctic, finding that shipping has been the primary pathway for introductions there, and that a lack of baseline taxonomic data hinders the identification and management of new non-native species. These two review papers are expected to be finalized shortly and submit-ted for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
WGBOSV reinvigorated and strengthened its partnership with the International Mari-time Organization (IMO), increasing co-operation on ballast water and biofouling activi-ties. WGBOSV contributed two documents, Standard Operating Procedures for the collection of treated ballast water samples and a proposal to standardize the collection of scientific data, in support of IMO activities. WGBOSV welcomed representatives of the IMO and PICES (North Pacific Marine Science Organization) to its meetings in an effort to improve communication and increase collaboration between the groups. WGBOSV identified a need to evaluate the efficacy of new ballast water management systems, to conduct additional research concerning species introductions in the Arctic under climate change, and to improve management of ship biofouling in order to prevent future intro-ductions. The Group therefore recommended that the WGBOSV be extended for another three years and proposed new/revised ToRs, accordingly. Finally, the Group noted the high number of participants at recent meetings and discussed the need to set a limit on participants to ensure that ToRs can be advanced effectively. It was also recognized that a large group is more difficult to accommodate in terms of physical meeting space and technological support.