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New resolution on transfer of invasive species through ballast water



Note: Full text of the resolution is online at
http://www.great-lakes.net/navigate/ansres4_99.html



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
4/30/99
Contact:  NOAA--Matt Stout 202-482-6090

ALIEN AQUATIC SPECIES WILL BE TURNED AWAY AT U.S. BORDERS

In an effort to reduce the devastation from aquatic nuisance species to the
ecology, economy, and health of the nation's coastal environment, the
Aquatic
Nuisance Species Task Force passed a resolution today to accelerate its
efforts
to eliminate invasive species that enter U.S. harbors through ballast water
pumped from ships.

The Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force, meeting today in Duluth, Minn., in
conjunction with the Ninth International Zebra Mussel and Aquatic Nuisance
Species Conference, agreed to a resolution that:

1.      COMMITS to eliminate, as soon as possible, shipsŐ ballast water as a
significant pathway for the introduction of invasive species into American
waters,

2.      SUPPORTS ongoing domestic and international efforts to develop a
comprehensive, effective, and consistent suite of guidance and authorities
that
will reduce the risk of transfer of aquatic nuisance species through shipsŐ
ballast water,

3.      PLEDGES to support further research and development efforts to find
a simple,
effective and safe method for ballast water management;

4.      SEEKS to collaborate actively with maritime interests and other
industry
representatives to ensure that a workable, safe, and environmentally sound
solution to this crucial problem is found as soon as possible; and

5.      FURTHER SEEKS to enhance cooperation and coordination among
federa,state and
tribal governments to maximize the effectiveness in eliminating the transfer
of
aquatic nuisance species through shipsŐ ballast water as a source of future
introductions into the waters of the United States.

"We are at critical mass in the fight to control the impact of alien aquatic
species.  We must act aggressively to stem the tide of these invaders," said
Sally Yozell, deputy assistant secretary for oceans and atmosphere at the
U.S.
Department of Commerce.  "Every minute 40,000 gallons of foreign ballast
water
is dumped into U.S. harbors.  This water contains a multitude of stowaways
that
could alter or destroy AmericaŐs natural ecosystems and severely harm the
coastal economies they support."

"Eliminating ballast water as a major pathway for introducing invasive
species
into aquatic ecosystems will require a concerted and committed effort by all
involved," said Gary Edwards, assistant director for Fisheries, National
Fish
and Wildlife Service.

The task force is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to preventing
and
controlling aquatic nuisance species, and implementing the Nonindigenous
Aquatic
Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990. The Task Force, co-chaired by
the
US Fish and Wildlife Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration, was established to coordinate governmental efforts related
to
nonindigenous aquatic species in the United States.

###


Editors note:  The resolution can be faxed by request by calling
202-482-6090.