Aquatic invasive species can be introduced by ships’ ballast water. Ballast water is used by ships to ensure stability and structural integrity, by controlling the weight distribution in the vessel’s tanks. For years now, international and national regulations have been targeting this issue:

  • International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments
    • Ships dispose of sediments in ports and terminals. Ship cleaning and repairs require ports to have sediment reception facilities.
    • New ships must be designed and built to minimize sediment intake and retention and facilitate its elimination.
  • Canadian Ballast Water Control and Management Regulations
    • Ships arriving from overseas into Canadian waters must:
      • Exchange ballast water in open seas, and, if heading to the Great Lakes, exchange ballast water in open seas and use saltwater flushing, and/or
      • Treat ballast water (to IMO standard), and/or
      • Retain ballast water on board, and/or
      • Dispose of ballast water on shore, at the proper port facility.
  • Canada has the best ballast water management system in North America.
    • Ships must send a Canadian Ballast Water Reporting Form to Transport Canada.
    • Transport Canada reviews the form and verifies that the exchange was performed.
    • Inspectors verify the following:
      • Ship’s documentation and management plan
      • Crew’s familiarity with ballast water management plan
      • Ballast water salinity (30 ppm) in each tank using a refractometer: evidence that the exchange has been performed.
  • Scientific assessment has shown that no invasive species have been identified since 2006, when the ‘flushing’ measure was first implemented.
  • 100% of ballast water reports are verified, 365 days/year.
Photo credit: Louis Rhéaume
Photo credit: Louis Rhéaume