Global project to protect marine biodiversity

Anti-fouling paint A new project aims to drive actions to implement the IMO Guidelines for the control and management of ships’ biofouling. Credit: IMO Lee Adamson

An international project to combat the negative environmental impacts of the transfer of aquatic species through ships has been launched.

The GloFouling Partnerships project aims to drive actions to implement the IMO Guidelines for the control and management of ships’ biofouling, which provide a globally-consistent approach on how biofouling should be controlled and managed to minimise the transfer of invasive aquatic species through ships’ hulls. The project will also spur the development of best practices and standards for improved biofouling management in other ocean industries.

Chris Severin, senior environmental specialist from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), which created the project alongside the UNDP and the IMO, said, “The implementation of the GloFouling Partnerships will be instrumental in battling aquatic invasive species, and will not only lead to healthier more robust marine ecosystems, but also offer an opportunity to unlock blue economy potentials through the stimulation of public-private sector investments.”

Marine-wide approach

While IMO will focus on shipping, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC) will join the three main partners (GEF, UNDP, IMO) to lead the approach to other marine sectors with a view to developing biofouling management best practices.

The GEF is providing a US$6.9m grant to deliver a range of governance reforms at the national level, through numerous capacity-building activities, training workshops and opportunities for technology adoption.

Twelve countries will spearhead the work of the project including Brazil, Ecuador, Fiji, Indonesia, Jordan, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Tonga.

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