COMPLETE – A new project on ballast water and biofouling in the Baltic Sea region
An ambitious project is starting its activity with a two-day kick-off meeting in Helsinki, Finland on 9–10 November. The COMPLETE project – short for "Completing management options in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) to reduce risk of invasive species introduction by shipping" – is a three-year (2017-2020) EU Interreg Baltic Sea Region project, HELCOM said in its press release.
COMPLETE is aimed at minimizing the introduction and spread of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens because of shipping. It will do so by developing consistent and adaptive management strategies and tools for the Baltic Sea region, addressing both major pathways of introductions via ships: ballast water and biofouling. As such, it directly addresses the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan objective "No introductions of alien species from ships" as well as the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive's (MSFD) Descriptor 2: "NIS introduced as a result of human activities are at levels that do not adversely alter the ecosystem". With respect to biofouling, the project will consider not only the risk of species introduction, but also the risk of release of hazardous substances from antifouling.
COMPLETE will deliver knowledge and tools to carry out HELCOM's new roadmap for regional implementation of the outstanding issues on the Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC) in the Baltic Sea (Outcome of HOD 51-2016, para.6.103). It will also assist relevant authorities in implementing Regulation (EU) No 1143/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council, which aims to protect native biodiversity and ecosystem services. By addressing key challenges of the Baltic Sea Region, the ultimate goal of the project is to develop operational frameworks and provide user-oriented tools, in close cooperation with relevant stakeholders, in order to make shipping more environmentally friendly.
The Kick-off meeting of the project, held 9-10 November in Helsinki, gathers project partners to start implementing this project. Anna-Liisa Perttilä, Environmental Co-ordinator at Finnlines Plc, provides an invited key note address.
Coordination of the project is conducted by Kotka Maritime Research Association (KMRA/FI). Project partnership is formed by the following:
Klaipėda University (KU/LT)
Helsinki Commission (HELCOM)
Finnish Environment Institute
Marine Research Centre (SYKE/FI)
University of Gdansk (UG/PL)
University of Helsinki, Department of Environmental Sciences (UH/FI)
Chalmers University of Technology (CHALMERS/SE)
Environmental Development Association (EDA/LV)
Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH/DE)
South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences (XAMK/FI)
University of Tartu (UTARTU/EE)
Keep the Archipelago Tidy Association (KAT/FI)
Associated organizations represent shipping companies, port authorities, governmental bodies, NGOs, and research institutions from all Baltic Sea countries. Project partners have long-term expertise and know-how in innovative solutions for shipping, risk assessment and management systems, surveillance, and monitoring. The participation of HELCOM as a full project partner will ensure involvement of relevant institutions from all Baltic Sea countries, harmonizing implementation of the Ballast Water Management Convention and elaboration of the Baltic Sea Region biofouling management strategy. Further dialogue between science and managers as well as industry and other stakeholders will be established through an Advisory Board.