Why should we be interested?
Biofouling is the accumulation of aquatic organisms such as microorganisms, plants and animals on surfaces and structures immersed in or exposed to the aquatic environment. Biofouling may also be known as hull fouling. Aquatic organisms may be transferred to new locations as biofouling and can be harmful and invasive in locations where they do not naturally occur.
The transfer of invasive organisms can threaten freshwater, brackish and salt water marine environments.
All recreational craft have some biofouling even if recently cleaned or anti-fouled, the amount being influenced by factors such as:-
- Type, age and condition of anti-fouling coatings and hull cleaning practices.
- Operating speeds, time underway/time moored, water temperature and where vessel is normally kept.
- Places visited.
Actively minimising the biofouling on your craft will greatly reduce the risk of transferring invasive aquatic species as well as improving fuel efficiency and operating speeds.
Biosecurity is a relatively modern term which has its origins in the control of animal and plant diseases. It is now also used in the context of non-native species (NNS) of plants and animals.
Biosecurity measures therefore typically focus on minimising the introduction or spread of NNS but do not cover the long term control of NNS which are established and widespread.
A biosecurity plan is a document that details the steps a company, marina operator, boat repair facility operators etc. could take to prevent and control any introduction of NNS.
Current legislation in England and Wales does not provide for biosecurity plans to be in place at present unless it is a requirement of a license however, implementation of a biosecurity plan is considered a matter of good practice and can make a positive contribution towards controlling and spread of NNS in our waters. In Scotland recent changes to the Wildlife & Natural Environment (Scotland) Act which supported by a new code of practice on non-native species means ‘it is an offence to introduce NNS to Scottish waters through commercial or recreational marine activities, even if the introduction was unintentional’
We are grateful to Sarah Brown (Marine Matters Managed) www.c2w.org.uk for preparing the following guide and information on behalf of the CHA.