Report of the Workshop on harmful phytoplankton that could potentially be transported or introduced by ballast water (WKHABAL)
The ICES Workshop on harmful phytoplankton that could potentially be transported or introduced by ballast water (WKHABAL) met in Copenhagen, Denmark from 14-15th October, 2010 and was attended by 11 participants from Denmark, Ireland, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The purpose of the meeting was to identify phytoplankton that could be transported via shipping vectors so that potential future invasive species could be identified and the risk managed.
The group produced two lists of phytoplankton, one marine and one freshwater based on the IOC –UNESCO Taxonomic Reference List of Harmful Micro Algae and on the Great Lakes Invasive Species List respectively. The marine list focussed on known toxic species and also included some nuisance (but non toxic) species, the freshwater list was focussed on species known to have been transported by shipping but that were not necessarily problem species in terms of toxicity. The difference in the focus of the lists was owing to the availability of information. These lists were then expanded to include information regarding the characteristics of the species that may make them more likely to survive a long journey in a dark ballast tank. This included characteristics such as cyst forming ability and whether the species was phototrophic or heterotrophic. Where this information is known it could help identify which species were more likely to survive transport in ballast tanks.
In addition to the lists the group also prepared background information that is contained in the body of the report to support the information in the table. This included a case study of a toxic marine dinoflagellate that may have been introduced by ballast water and more detailed background to the freshwater species list.
The group acknowledged that there is a lack of information for many species and that this limits the amount of detail that can be provided for some species. However, these lists are a good starting point and can be updated and adapted as more information and feedback from users is incorporated.
Published under the auspices of the following ICES Steering Group or Committee