March 2021

The COMPLETE project has successfully tackled several knowledge gaps regarding introduction and spread of non-indigenous and potential invasive species by shipping. Since 2017 various project activities focused, in co-operation with different stakeholder groups, on identification and development of management, monitoring, and early warning options, methods, and tools for minimizing the introduction risk via ballast water and biofouling.

Pleasure craft owners and the commercial shipping sector were approached by two questionnaires on their biofouling management practices and operation of the boats and ship as well as on their knowledge about species introduction and IMO Biofouling Guidelines and Guidance. Afterwards, sampling of biofouling of pleasure craft was conducted in Polish marinas, followed by distribution of leaflets and questionnaires among sailors and harbor masters. With regard to biofouling management in ports, responsible authorities and stakeholders were invited to participate in an in –water cleaning workshop that was organized in Hamburg in May 2019. Field experiments have been conducted during the project to gain more knowledge on biofouling and antifouling system solutions.

To inform persons responsible for sampling and analysis of ballast water for the compliance monitoring of the BWM Convention, a workshop took place in Hamburg in May 2019. During this event, practical sampling, analysis, and their theoretical background was presented in laboratory and on board of a cruise ship.

In summer and autumn 2019, several national round table discussions took place in Baltic Sea region countries, where issues related biofouling and ballast water management where discussed among different stakeholders. National meetings and stakeholder consultations were focused on harmonized procedures for the Baltic Sea to reduce the risk of introduction of invasive species through shipping.

To promote the new Non-Indigenous Species (NIS) monitoring methods and main issues of Early Warning System, meetings with environmental national authorities were organized in 2019 and 2020. Also, expert group meetings took place in Poland in March 2020 where diverse issues related to the introduction of NIS via the main two vectors (shipping and leisure boats) were discussed.

The COMPLETE project presented a roadmap proposal for biofouling management in the Baltic Sea Region to several HELCOM bodies, which endorsed it as one basis for the implementation of the IMO Biofouling Guidelines and Guidance in the region. Finland, Germany, and Poland submitted a summary of aspects from this roadmap to IMO PPR 8 as contribution to the review of the IMO Biofouling Guidelines.

During the COMPLETE project two conferences were organized and more than 20 articles published on research and management to minimize introduction and spread of non-indigenous species in the Baltic Sea by shipping and boating.

The COMPLETE project wishes to thank all the stakeholders for their co-operation during the project, and welcome you all to follow the work of the extension stage project COMPLETE PLUS, where the tools and recommendations of the COMPLETE project will be implemented in practice.