Monday, July 13, 2009

Invasive species problem largely connected with ballast tanks of ships

According to World Wildlife Fund (WWF) around 7,000 marine and coastal species travel across the world's oceans every day, and some of them become invasive in new environment not only by doing damage to native ecosystems but also doing tremendous economic damage. WWF estimates that just in last 5 years invasive species have cost marine and coastal activities including fisheries, aquaculture, industrial infrastructure and harbors around £31 billion. The main reason for spreading of these invasive species is shipping.

In 2004 countries established the Ballast Water Convention that should bring in the measures needed for ballast water to fight against invasion of new species but so far only one country, Liberia, has ratified this convention. WWF called for other top shipping countries to tatify this convention but so far there was no progress, and invasive species are still spreading around the globe.

The most dangerous are predatory invasive species that are doing great damage to food chains and damaging habitats of native species. The more invasive species there are the better chances are for some native species to go extinct. Invasive species problem is actually big ecological problem but not many people around the globe are aware of that. Since world is still largely ignorant to this problem number of invasive species is constantly rising causing even bigger environmental and economic damage.

Chinese mitten crab is one of the most famous invasive species. This species spread throughout the world in the ballast of ships, and is now causing big damage to many native species around the globe.

Among more famous invasive species are Chinese mitten crabs, the North American comb jellyfish, the red mysid shrimp, and the Indo-Pacific poisonous lionfish.

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