4-5 December 2019

The COMPLETE Stakeholder Conference “Towards solutions for sustainable shipping and boating: better biofouling and ballast water management” was held on 4-5 December 2019 in Jurmala, Latvia. Over seventy participants from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden and the HELCOM Secretariat joined the stakeholder conference, representing different stakeholders from policy makers at international, regional, and national level (e.g. maritime and environmental administrations) as well as local administrations, ports/port authorities, chemical safety authorities, shipping companies, boating associations, environmental NGOs, and companies providing hull cleaning services or antifouling systems. At plenary sessions, stakeholders presented their views on the problems of biofouling and ballast water management, and project partners described how the results of the project can help solve problems.

On the first day, keynote panelists representing authorities, ports, shipowners, leisure craft owners and the COMPLETE project, framed the biofouling issue from their respective viewpoints in their opening statements. After the lively panel discussion, COMPLETE project partners presented some of the key outcomes of the project: biofouling potential of the region, in-water cleaning as an option for biofouling management, and what factors are to be considered in the cost-efficient biofouling management in the merchant fleet. The planned concept of a roadmap proposal towards harmonized biofouling management in the Baltic Sea Region was also introduced. Potential solutions and sustainable management options to reducing the risk of invasive species introductions caused by biofouling in the Baltic Sea Region were discussed in small groups.

For the second day of the conference, the keynote speakers presented their experiences of the Ballast Water Management Convention, the obligations of port states and flag states, shipowners’ perspective and administrations’ view. The need of commissioning tests for ballast water management systems was also presented.

Project partners presented the lessons learnt from a practical training of ballast water sampling and analysis, the proposed pathway towards a regional system of non-indigenous species monitoring, and the benefits for an early warning system on harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens. Workshop on the second day discussed the needs for more efficient monitoring of the harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens, how an early warning system could help stakeholders in the implementation of the BWMC, and whether the conference participants were familiar with the procedure for applying for and granting of ballast water treatment exemptions in their country.

The presentations from the conference have now been uploaded to the conference web page together with a photo gallery of the event (https://www.balticcomplete.com/news/conference). Additional outputs from the conference will be made available in due time.