Keep the Archipelago Tidy Association (KAT) is a Finnish environmental organisation for boaters and all those travelling in and around Finnish waterways. The association was established in 1969 and it serves the archipelago and coastal regions, as well as the network of lakes in the Finnish Lakeland region. The activities of the association are diverse and concrete, ranging from environmental maintenance and educational work to national and international project work. Projects often concentrate on issues concerning boating, marine litter, eutrophication, and the influx of harmful chemicals in the Baltic Sea.
Many databases on the registration of non-indigenous species (NIS) were developed within short-term national or regional projects and disappeared shortly after the end of the project. To avoid this problem, it was decided, as early as during the planning of the COMPLETE project, that instead of creating a new NIS database from scratch, we will use and further advance AquaNIS, an information system on aquatic non-indigenous and cryptogenic species. This system was developed during the course of an EU FP7 project VECTORS, and inherited data from many previous European, regional, and national projects. Thus, the COMPLETE project uses an existing platform to assemble, store, and disseminate biological data, especially on newly arriving NIS, which may become harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens (HAOP).
2–6 March 2020
Meetings of two working groups of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), i.e. the Working Group on Ballast and Other Ship Vectors (WGBOSV) and the Working Group on Introductions and Transfers of Marine Organisms (WGITMO), were held on 2–6 March 2020 in Gdynia, Poland. This event was organized as a part of the COMPLETE project for exchanging the latest progress of the project with these working groups. Each group met for 3 days, with one day being a joint day. In total, 33 participants (including 9 representing the COMPLETE project) from 16 countries, such as Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, the Netherlands, Iceland, Canada, Lithuania, Latvia, Germany, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, the USA, and the United Kingdom took part in both meetings. Among them was also a representative of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). In addition, 7 participants from 5 countries (Germany, USA, Canada, Finland, and Sweden) presented their talks remotely.
The role of leisure boats in the spreading of alien species in the Baltic Sea Region is largely unknown. The number of leisure boats operating in the Baltic Sea Region is growing, and the risk of potential new introductions is also increasing. It is essential to be aware of this risk and its magnitude in order to address the issue with the most cost-effective measures. As a part of COMPLETE activities, a study will be carried out in summer 2020 together with Kari “Ruffe” Nurmi and his sailing boat, which will be literally used as an experimental vessel.
2-6 March 2020
Meeting of two working groups of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), i.e. the Working Group on Ballast and Other Ship Vectors (WGBOSV) and the Working Group on Introductions and Transfers of Marine Organisms (WGITMO) will be held in 2-6 March 2020 at the University of Gdansk in Gdynia, Poland.
Gothenburg, Sweden – January 2020
Working for COMPLETE project partner Chalmers University of Technology, doctoral candidate Dinis Reis Oliveira will defend his PhD thesis entitled “Roughest hour – approaches to ship hull fouling management”. The event will take place in Gothenburg on Friday January 24th 2020 (10.00 AM), and will count with field expert Dr. Kelli Hunsucker (Florida Tech – USA) as opponent.
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.
A national meeting with the stakeholders, in the form of a seminar titled “Ballast water and ship hulls - harmonized procedures for the Baltic Sea to reduce the risk of introduction of invasive species through shipping”, was held in September 2019 at the Institute of Oceanography of the University of Gdańsk. The purpose of the meeting was to exchange knowledge and expertise on the issues related to the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention and Biofouling Guidelines.
On the last Saturday of October 2019, an estimation of the fouling rate of recreational boats (taken out of the water after the season) was carried out in one of the Polish marinas, the Academic Yacht Club Gdańsk. The assessment was based on the ranking system included in the “Biofouling Assessment Protocol for Leisure Boats and Marinas”, prepared by the Keep the Archipelago Tidy Association (KAT) under the COMPLETE project. The submerged parts of boat hulls were photographed directly after lifting the boats out of the water. Particular attention was paid to niche areas, such as the propeller, rudder and keel, which are structures that are usually not treated with antifouling paints. In addition, samples of fouling macrofauna were collected and preserved for further taxonomical analyses. Boat owners were requested to provide basic information on their boats, including the antifouling systems applied before the season. They were also asked to complete the “Biofouling Survey and Boater Questionnaire”, to which the link was provided with the distributed project leaflets. This was the last part of the studies concerning the biofouling potential of recreational boats, with the aim of identifying their role in the spreading of non-indigenous species in the Baltic Sea Region.