Harmonized monitoring of non-indigenous species
COMPLETE project recommendations will be given on new methods to be used in early detection of non-indigenous species (NIS) or harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens, as well as areas where biofouling monitoring should be conducted to decrease the risk of new invasions and to safeguard the valuable nature areas in the proximity of invasion hot spots.
It is not practical to establish separate monitoring programs to serve the needs of each international or regional instrument aimed at prevention of NIS introductions, such as Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC), Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), etc. The manual produced in COMPLETE will include tools and guidelines for the integration of all types of existing and developing surveys and approaches, which may provide information on NIS arrival, establishment and spread. These include routine HELCOM biological monitoring (HELCOM COMBINE), Port Biological Baseline Surveys JHP (HELCOM/OSPAR), HELCOM coastal fish monitoring, Baltic International Trawl Surveys (BITS), public observations, rapid assessments of target HAOP, among others. The results of NIS monitoring will provide baseline information for serving many purposes as the data will be uploaded into one database where it is available for indicator updates, reporting purposes and research.
The monitoring data will also serve for:
- information support for decision-making on granting exemptions under BWMC;
- early detection of NIS in high-risk invasion areas and dispersal hubs;
- assessment of new NIS arrivals at different geographical scales, from a country coast within the Baltic Sea to the entire sea basin, and even to a larger biogeographical scale (Baltic and the North seas together);
- determination of spread and rate of expansion of established NIS;
- evaluation of environmental and economic effects of NIS.