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Web Alert: California biofouling regulations (effective from 1 October 2017)

06 September 2017

Members with ships calling at Californian ports are advised of the new biofouling regulations and reporting requirements which will be in effect for vessels of 300gt or more, from 1 October 2017 onwards.

The aim is similar to the recently adopted Californian regulations on ballast water, ie to minimise the transfer of non-indigenous aquatic species from ships calling at California ports; as these requirements address organisms that are attached to the ship’s hull and have the potential to establish a reproductive population in the host environment and out-compete native species.

These regulations adopt a new annual vessel reporting form and require development of a biofouling management plan and related recordkeeping.

The implementation will be in a two-stage process:

  1. From 1 October 2017, all vessels will have to submit a completed Marine Invasive Species Program Annual Vessel Reporting Form (SLC 600.12, Revised 01/17) at least 24hours in advance of the first arrival of the calendar year at a Californian port. The previously required Hull Husbandry Reporting Form will no longer be used.
  2. From 1 January 2018, additional requirements for new vessels (delivered on or after 1 January 2018) and existing vessels (first scheduled docking after 1 January 2018), will include:
    • development and maintenance of a Biofouling Management Plan
    • creation and maintenance of 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).

Members are recommended to refer to the attached California State Lands Commission (SLC) letter dated 15 August 2017 for further guidance and compliance.