There is a clear need to conserve aquatic biodiversity by controlling the threat of invasive species that can be transported by ships and boats. Rising water temperatures due to global warming also increase the risk from invasive species. The threat to biodiversity is recognized and reflected in legislation such as the EU Green Deal, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the UN Environment Program. The EU is currently reviewing its regulations to protect sensitive aquatic ecosystems.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is in the process of developing new guidelines for ship owners and boaters on how to deal with the threat.
Traditionally, fouling has been prevented by applying antifouling paints to the bottom of boats. These paints are now strictly regulated by the EU. In recent years, these regulations have significantly changed products, reducing their environmental impact, ensuring their safe application and optimizing their performance. That said, new guidance for regulators in the EU could lead to a ban on all biocidal products for use in recreational boats.
Some companies are marketing approaches that do not use biocidal antifouling paints such as ultrasonic, non-stick finishes and cleaning, and new approaches are being developed coatings to prevent damage to biodiversity seems needed.
The interactive panel will discuss important topics with the audience, including work at IMO (Glofouling Program), approaches to preventing fouling, and steps boat owners can take to prevent the spread of invasive species to their hulls and underwater areas.