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Marine biosecurity

About marine biosecurity

Biosecurity is about taking action in order to minimise the introduction, spread and establishment of invasive non-native species (INNS). Movement of vessels, equipment and/or stock can cause both the introduction of a new INNS and the spread of an INNS already established at a site to new locations.

We all rely on the health of our marine environment to prosper. Once INNS become established they can threaten the diversity of life in our seas and coasts, as well as impacting on our livelihoods and our sport, leisure and enjoyment of the marine environment.

In the marine environment, the complete eradication of INNS is rarely possible or affordable and control is usually only effective on a local scale. Therefore following best practice biosecurity measures to reduce the likelihood of introducing an INNS in the first place are all the more important.

Marine biosecurity planning

Damage to the marine environment can lead to financial losses to marine industries such as additional costs for removing biofouling on structures or damage to farmed shellfish and reduced yield. Effective biosecurity planning can help reduce these impacts. A marine biosecurity plan will outline the realistic actions that can be implemented and achieved to help reduce the risk of marine INNS. Guidance has been produced to take you through how to write a biosecurity plan:

Further tools and support for biosecurity planning:

See also the Marine Biosecurity toolkit developed for the RAPID LIFE project and Marine Pathways Project documents for more resources and example plans. 

Guidance for recreational activities

Individuals can play a key part in improving biosecurity and protecting the environment when out and about enjoying the water. Whenever you leave the water remember to Check Clean Dry. Download a Check Clean Dry leaflet for:

View handy videos guides from the RYA (external link)

Check Clean Dry for dinghy sailors

Check Clean Dry for windsurfers

Check Clean Dry for personal watercraft

Check Clean Dry for powerboats

Further guidance for industry

See also ‘marine biosecurity planning’ resources above

Presentations produced by the RAPID LIFE project:

Pathway Action Plans

Pathway Action Plans have been developed to provide guidance for different organisations and individuals on steps to take to reduce the risk of INNS. The following are relevant to the marine environment:

Further resources

  • Marine Pathways Group - this project has ended but a range of marine biosecurity resources are still available.
  • RAPID Life Project - this project has ended but a range of marine biosecurity resources are still available in the Marine Biosecurity toolkit.
  • The Green Blue (external link) provides resources and advice for recreational boaters on best practice to avoid the risk of introduction and spread of invasive species.
  • GloFouling Partnerships Project - view publications from the project, part of efforts by the International Maritime Organisation in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme and Global Environment Facility to protect marine ecosystems from the negative effects of invasive species.