10 Mar 2009

Call to tackle invasive species entering Pacific waters

2:04 pm on 10 March 2009

There are calls for Pacific Island countries to tackle the spread of invasive species entering their waters.

The International Maritime Organisation and Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme are meeting in Suva in Fiji to address their concerns.

The Fiji Times is reporting IMO's Dr Jose Matheickal saying their focus is on the movement of ships in and out of Pacific waters because ballast water carried in ships is responsible for introducing invasive species, including fish, invertebrates, algae and plants.

It reports Dr Matheickal saying areas to be looked at include tracking ship owners, treatment of ballast water and ships keeping records of species released into the water.

Ballast water is usually used to provide stability on ships not carrying any cargo.

Marine organisms can make their way into the ballast water and be released at the ships' destination where surviving stowaways have the opportunity to establish populations which can harm the natural ecosystem.