The potential for invasive marine species (IMS) transferred through biofouling to cause harm has been recognised by many international organisations including the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.
Best practice vessel management for marine biofouling not only prevents the introduction and spread of IMS but also provides economic benefits including lower fuel consumption, increased vessel performance and speed, extended life of vessel and gear, and reduced costs for maintenance and emergency responses to translocation of an IMS.
As the lead agency in Western Australia responsible for the management of aquatic pests and diseases, the Department encourages best practice to prevent the introduction and establishment of IMS in WA.
Policy and legislation
We manage biofouling for international and interstate vessel movements to WA. A key part of our Biofouling Biosecurity Policy is that vessels should be ‘clean’ before leaving for new destinations within WA.
This means vessel managers should comply with relevant international, national and state obligations, legislation and guidelines before travelling into and within WA waters to keep the risk of transporting IMS to an acceptable (low) level.
Under regulation 176 of the Fish Resources Management Regulations 1995 (FRMR), it is an offence to translocate live non-endemic fish to WA without permission. Under section 105 of the Fish Resources Management Act 1994 (FRMA), it is an offence to bring noxious fish into WA.
Also, under Part 16A of the FRMA, the Department has emergency powers to deal with incursions of IMS, which include directing a person to carry out necessary activities to prevent or control the spread of IMS, or to eradicate them in WA waters. If these activities are not undertaken, we may carry out the activities and recover any costs incurred from the person initially directed to do so.
Our focus is on management activities, such as setting standards, and we have provided biofouling management tools and guidelines to help vessel managers control their own biofouling risk.
Note: In addition to the information provided above, vessel managers should be mindful of any relevant Ministerial Conditions under the WA Environmental Protection Act 1986.
Contact our Biosecurity Unit for further information.