The maritime authority of Mexico (Secretaria de Marina – SEMAR), organised the first national workshop in Ciudad de Mexico, from 17 to 18 October, with the aim of presenting the GloFouling project and bringing together the maximum number of stakeholders that will be part of a National task force.
The event was launched by Vice Admiral Ruben Ceballos Guevara, Head of UNICAPAM (Unidad de Capitanias de Puerto y Asuntos Maritimos), who highlighted the strong commitment of Mexico to protect its marine biodiversity and the challenges presented by the large and diverse marine ecosystems that can be found within its territorial waters.
The workshop introduced participants to the key aspects related to invasive species, biofouling, the existing regulatory framework and the essential elements for the development of a national policy. Prof. Gildardo Alarcon Daowz led the analysis of the current state of affairs and review the institutional framework at the national level, particularly discussing how to improve integration of academic research into the work of the future national task force. Participants also assessed the capacity building activities that will be needed at the national level to support the implementation of a policy that will promote best practices for managing biofouling across all maritime industries.
During the workshop, it was overly patent that Mexico has a strong institutional framework in place, with a national strategy for invasive species already drafted in 2010 by CONABIO, the National Commission for Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity. SEMARNAT, the Environment Ministry of Mexico, was well represented and stated its readiness to share its knowledge and the experience accumulated through other initiatives related to invasive species and its strong links with research institutions that related to environmental protection and biodiversity conservation.
Lina Ceballos, one of the leading marine scientists from the Marine Invasive Species Program of the California State Lands Commission, provided an outlook of the requirements of the State legislation currently in force, and shared their experience and pathways to overcome challenges in the development of their policy.
The meeting was part of the efforts led by the GloFouling Partnerships to assist developing countries to tackle the issue of invasive aquatic species transferred through biofouling. Research is increasingly showing that biofouling of ships’ hulls and other mobile structures is in fact, a major transfer route for non-indigenous species, at least as important as ballast water.
The next step for the GloFouling Partnerships in Mexico will be the development of national baseline reports to assess the current situation with regard to non-indigenous species, and identify any research currently available on the subject, analyse the economic impacts and determine the national legal framework.
More pictures of the event can be found in the album on GloFouling's Flickr gallery.