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GLIN==> Binational Panel calls for ballast management program



For Immediate Release

Contact: Mike Donahue
E-mail: mdonahue@glc.org
Phone: 734-665-9135
Fax: 734-665-4370

Binational Panel calls for ballast management program to control the 
introduction and spread of aquatic nuisance species

Ann Arbor, Mich. - A binational coalition of public and private sector 
interests has crafted a strategy to advance aquatic nuisance species 
prevention and control efforts through ballast water management. The 
comprehensive policy statement features 41 recommendations that will 
guide the development of criteria for ballast water management practices 
and treatment technologies; ensure consistency among laws and programs 
in Great Lakes-St. Lawrence basin jurisdictions; and promote the 
development of technology options and identification of research needs. 
The statement is the culmination of a nine month effort by the Great 
Lakes Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species, a federally chartered body 
staffed by the Great Lakes Commission.

Ballast water in commercial vessels has been identified as a major 
pathway for the introduction and spread of aquatic nuisance species in 
the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence system. Also of concern are vessels in "no 
ballast on board," or NOBOB, status. The residual water and sediment in 
these vessels is also a vector for the introduction and spread of such 
species.

After years of regional efforts in prevention and control, the Panel 
recognized that open ocean ballast water exchange for commercial vessels 
has been an imperfect solution to problems of species introduction. A 
committee was subsequently convened to identify additional measures, 
drawing representatives from federal, state, provincial and tribal 
governments, the maritime industry, recreational and commercial user 
groups, and environmental organizations.

Among many others, the policy statement calls for:

* The development of ballast water criteria and associated guidelines / 
regulations;

* Programs that are scientifically sound and effective, yet avoid 
placing the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence maritime industry at a competitive 
disadvantage with others;

* New legal regimes that feature incrementally achievable criteria with 
the goal of "zero discharge" of aquatic nuisance species; and

* full-scale application of promising ballast water management/treatment 
technologies on commercial vessels.

"This initiative was unprecedented in scope," explains Ron Martin, Panel 
chair and an official with the Wisconsin Department of Natural 
Resources. "It offers much-needed guidance as we work toward a unified, 
systemwide approach to a complex, multijurisdictional issue." Commission 
Chair Nat Robinson commended the Panel on its statement, noting that 
"biological pollution is a double-edged sword that compromises both 
ecological health and economic productivity." He called on all regional 
interests, within and outside of government, "to embrace this policy 
statement as a blueprint for progress in addressing one of our greatest 
environmental challenges."

The Ballast Water Management Policy Statement can be found on the Great 
Lakes Commission's web site: www.glc.org

---
The Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species was officially 
convened in late 1991 by the Great Lakes Commission in response to 
section 1203 of the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and 
Control Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-646). The Panel is directed to identify 
Great Lakes priorities; assist / make recommendations to a national Task 
Force on Aquatic Nuisance Species (also established via P.L. 101-646); 
coordinate exotic species program activities in the region; advise 
public and private interests on control efforts; and submit an annual 
report to the task force describing prevention, research and control 
activities in the Great Lakes Basin.

The Panel membership is drawn from U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, 
the eight Great Lakes states and the province of Ontario, regional 
agencies, user groups, local communities, tribal authorities, commercial 
interests, and the university / research community.

---
The Great Lakes Commission, chaired by Nathaniel E. Robinson 
(Wisconsin), is a nonpartisan, binational compact agency created by 
state and U.S. federal law and dedicated to promoting a strong economy, 
healthy environment and high quality of life for the region and its 
residents. The Commission consists of state legislators, agency 
officials and governors' appointees from its eight member states. 
Associate membership for Ontario and Québec was established through the 
signing of a "Declaration of Partnership." The Commission maintains a 
formal Observer program involving U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, 
tribal authorities, binational agencies and other regional interests. 
The Commission offices are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Complete text of this news release and related links are online at 
http://www.glc.org/announce/01/4-01ballast.html


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