UN bodies and private sector join forces to tackle biofouling and emissions

IMO headquarters in London. Credit: IMO

United Nations entities and private sector stakeholders jointly launched, on 8 June, the Global Industry Alliance (GIA) to tackle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the transfer of invasive aquatic species through biofouling.

The GIA for Marine Biosafety will develop solutions and improve marine biofouling management, the build-up of aquatic organisms on ships’ hulls and other structures, leading to the introduction of invasive species to new environments. This introduction has the potential to irreversibly damage marine life and aquaculture in certain marine ecosystems.

As a knock-on effect the GIA will also help reduce GHG emissions as biofouling increases the drag of ships, making them burn more fuel to maintain speed. Such solutions developed by the GIA will help improve a ships’ hydrodynamic performance and reduce its carbon footprint.

The inaugural meeting took place on 8 June virtually and attended by representatives of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and other founding members.

“Under this new initiative, these industry champions, from different sectors, are coming together to address common challenges and move towards a more sustainable use of ocean resources”, said Kitack Lim, secretary general, IMO.