The IMO has launched a new international effort to combat the negative environmental impacts of biofouling. The GloFouling Partnerships project is a collaboration between the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the IMO. It will push the implementation of 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 minimize 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.
12 countries, representing a mix of developing nations and small island states, have been selected to lead the GloFouling project: Brazil, Ecuador, Fiji, Indonesia, Jordan, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Tonga. The introduction of invasive aquatic organisms into new marine environments not only affects biodiversity and ecosystem health, but also has measurable impacts on a number of economic sectors such as fisheries, aquaculture and ocean energy.
The GEF is providing a $6.9 million grant to deliver a range of governance reforms at the national level through capacity-building activities, training and opportunities for technology adoption to help address the issue of invasive species. Strong participation from private sector stakeholders is also expected, replicating the successful public-private sector partnership model used by IMO in previous projects.
While IMO will focus on shipping, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC) will join the three main partners to lead the approach to other marine sectors with a view to developing best practices that may address the transfer of invasive aquatic species through improved biofouling management.
The World Ocean Council (WOC) has been selected to engage and channel the participation of private sector companies for the development of best industry practices in non-shipping sectors such as aquaculture and oil and gas extraction. WOC will be working with the private sector to spur business action and encourage investment in biofouling solutions through dedicated sessions of the WOC Ocean Investment Platform. The GloFouling Project has received endorsement from over 40 major stakeholders, representing academia, industry associations, technology developers and private sector companies covering a broad spectrum of the blue economy.