The most significant barrier to action on the problems of ballast water transfer is the lack of information about the existence and potentially catastrophic consequences of the transfer of unwanted organisms through ballast water. Without adequate information on these destructive non-indigenous introductions, there can be no firm basis in formulating solutions to the problems of invasive species.
The competition for scarce resources in developing economies is fierce and, in this economic climate, environmental threats with rapid and disastrous consequences for the population are normally seen as priorities. Although the potential consequences of the unchecked transfer of unwanted organisms through ballast water transfer are sometimes compared with a time bomb, this is not always perceived as a serious warning by many developing countries. Ballast water related transfer of unwanted organisms can have irreversible consequences for the growing reliance of developing countries on aquaculture for their exports and for their national food reserve. Seen in this context, the prerequisite for success by all the potentially affected stakeholders would be: adequate information, education and awareness put into action in eradicating the invasive species.
IMO and GloBallast, in particular, have successfully conducted a worldwide awareness campaign. Information and educational materials have been produced in several languages and distributed through the GloBallast participating countries. For an example of educational posters developed by IMO, please click here.
For more information on the awareness materials produced by GloBallast, please click here.