• Three-year project targets shipping's harmful hitchhikers: invasive species

  • Expected results: knowledge, strategies, and tools for environmentally friendly shipping

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.

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.


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Note for editors

The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as HELCOM, is an intergovernmental organization of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union working to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution and to ensure safety of navigation in the region. Since 1974, HELCOM has been the governing body of the 'Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area', more commonly known as the Helsinki Convention.

During the last decade shipping has steadily increased in the Baltic Sea, reflecting intensifying co-operation and economic prosperity around the region. At the same time, increasing maritime transportation threatens fragile ecosystems and the livelihoods of the many people who depend on the sea.

HELCOM Maritime Working Group identifies and promotes actions to limit sea-based pollution and finds ways for safer navigation. Established in 1975, the group also deals with the harmonized implementation and enforcement of international shipping regulations.

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For more information, please contact:

Miina Karjalainen
Management coordinator, COMPLETE project
Kotka Maritime Research Association
Tel: +358-44-5222843
E-mail: miina.karjalainen@merikotka.fi

Marta Ruiz
Associate Professional Secretary
HELCOM
Tel: +358 40 6472424
Skype: helcom59
E-mail: marta.ruiz(at)helcom.fi