IMO-led GloFouling Partnerships will partner with private sector firms to develop ways to improve marine biofouling management to reduce the introduction of invasive species and to help meet IMO’s 2050 target of halving greenhouse gas emissions
The newly created Global Industry Alliance for Marine Biosafety is a partnership of private sector companies representing industries affected by biofouling such as shipping, aquaculture, offshore oil and gas and ocean renewable energies. The GIA was officially inaugurated on 8 June via an online meeting.
IMO secretary-general Kitack Lim said the new alliance will mark the first time all maritime industries unite to contribute towards protecting marine biodiversity and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Mr Lim said “Under this new initiative, these industry champions, which come from very different sectors, are coming together to address common challenges and advance the sustainable use of ocean resources.”
Four companies – CleanSubSea, ECOSubSea, HullWiper and Sonihull – have agreed to become the founding members of the GIA. GloFouling said it expects more companies to join the GIA after the launch.
The GIA will be financed by a trust fund, administrated by IMO and financed through annual membership contributions from GIA industry members. The members of the GIA form a task force deciding on direction and projects. The GloFouling project team at IMO acts as the Secretariat for the task force.
Marine biofouling introduces invasive aquatic species to new environments and causes ecological harm. Marine bioinvasions, unlike overfishing and habitat loss, are much harder to reverse and remediate. Once they have become established in a new ecosystem, invasive species are extremely difficult if not impossible, to eradicate.
Biofouling also often increases the surface roughness of ship hulls and propellers, resulting in speed loss at constant power or power increase at constant speed. Increased drag can mean increased fuel consumption.
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