HONOLULU -- The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) has adopted administrative rules to manage ballast water discharge from vessels operating in Hawai‘i waters.
Ballast water is taken in by ships to provide stability, improve fuel consumption and for overall safety of the ship and its crew. However algae and other marine life are also taken up with the water and potentially transported to ports along the vessels’ routes. This method of introduction of non-native marine life is internationally recognized as a threat to native ecosystems around the world.
To protect the marine resources of Hawai‘i, the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources has been working with private, commercial and government agencies since 2001 to develop approaches to prevent and minimize introductions from ballast water.
“The goals of these newly adopted rules are to minimize the introduction and spread of non-indigenous marine life forms into waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands,” said Laura H. Thielen, DLNR chairperson.
“Foreign aquatic organisms, such as seaweeds, coral, fish, and worms may be harmful to our environment and economy because they have the potential to replace or destroy native organisms, and to alter the balance of our fragile aquatic ecosystems,” said Thielen.
“The shipping industry is already cooperating with the new rules, which were adopted on October 12, 2007. We have been in a transition stage until November 30, 2007. During this educational period the State has been notifying vessel owners and port agents about the newly adopted rules,” she added.
The new administrative rules require qualifying vessels to: 1) have a ballast water management plan specifically for that vessel, 2) conduct a mid-ocean ballast water exchange or retain all ballast water on board, and 3) file a ballast water reporting form with the DLNR no later than 24 hours prior to arrival. The data obtained from the ballast water reporting forms submitted by the qualifying vessels will enable the State to make better assessments of the potential risk that an incoming vessel might contain alien species in its ballast water holds.
DLNR will be monitoring ballast water reports for submission and compliance.
The new rules are also consistent with, and complement, the Federal regulations for ballast water management. They coincide with the national focus to protect U.S. waters. Many other states are also addressing the issue by adopting their own rules on ballast water management.
Hawai‘i’s regulations were developed with extensive discussions and input from the Alien Aquatic Organism Task Force (AAOTF). The AAOTF includes members representing Federal and State agencies, the private shipping and boating industries, environmental organizations and the scientific community.
For more information about the new ballast water rules go to http://www.hawaii.gov/dlnr/dar or contact Jason Leonard at the Division of Aquatic Resources at (808) 587-0113 or via e-mail at Jason.C.Leonard@hawaii.gov .
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For more information, media may contact:
DLNR Public Information Specialist
Phone: (808) 587-0320