New Californian Biofouling Regulations *Update*

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Update –  29 September 2017

To help shipowners understand and comply with the new biofouling regulations that take effect on 1 October 2017, the California State Lands Commission has published guidance.

Their guidance document “Biofouling Management Regulations to Minimize the Transfer of Nonindigenous Species Arriving at California Ports” can be viewed here.

Update – 25 August 2017

The California State Lands Commission (SLC) has approved new regulations on vessel biofouling that take effect on 1 October 2017.

The aim of the new rules follows those of the recently adopted Californian regulations on ballast water; to minimise the transfer of non-indigenous aquatic species from vessels calling at California ports.

The biofouling regulations address organisms that are attached to the vessel’s hull. The problem of biofouling has been recognised at IMO. Various invasive species hitch a ride on the vessel’s hull and have the potential to establish a reproductive population in the host environment and out-compete native species.

The main provision that will come into effect on 1 October 2017 for vessels calling at Californian ports is the repeal of the existing reporting forms that address biofouling and the adoption of the ‘Marine Invasive Species Program Annual Vessel Reporting Form’.

The following requirements will apply to new vessels delivered on or after 1 January 2018 or for existing vessels, the first scheduled docking after 1 January 2018:

  • Developing and maintaining a Biofouling Management Plan
  • Developing and maintaining a Biofouling Record Book
  • Mandatory biofouling management of the vessel’s wetted surfaces
  • Mandatory biofouling management for vessels that undergo an extended stay in the same location (45 or more days)

More information can be found in the SLC’s letter of 15August 2017: http://www.slc.ca.gov/Programs/MISP/4-8_FinalLetter_15Aug2017.pdf