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Regional Strategy on Biofouling Management endorsed in East Asia Sea region

Updated: Sep 27, 2023

Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) as part of its commitment to GloFouling Partnerships project as a regional coordinating organization held its third Regional Task Force meeting on Biofouling Management. The meeting was hosted by the Directorate General of Sea Transportation (DGST) , Ministry of Transportation of the Government of Indonesia in Surabaya from 20 to 22 September 2023, followed by a site visit (on 23 September) to one of the largest dry docks in Indonesia - PT PAL Indonesia (Persero) shipyard, and the Technology Institute of Surabaya (Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember - ITS), to see first-hand how management practices and biofouling research are developed.

Over 40% of international trade passes through Southeast Asia. This exposes the region’s marine ecosystems to invasive species attached to shipping hulls and other equipment.

Dr. Hartanto – the chair of the meeting and Director of Marine Safety and Seafarers, DGST said that "we [Indonesia] are very pleased to be involved in the opportunity to work with other countries and organizations in our region to address issues [of invasive aquatic species] in this very important transboundary sea. We are also confident that this project can make a positive contribution to the efforts of protecting global ocean biodiversity".

The GloFouling Partnerships project’s main objective is to capacitate countries and regions in implementing IMO’s Biofouling Guidelines. More specifically it collaborates with twelve lead partnering countries across the world, two of which are also Member States of PEMSEA, namely Indonesia and the Philippines, and play a leading role in the region.

After raising awareness activities and preparatory meetings, at a first meeting (in 2022), the Regional Task Force (RTF) was established and a regional strategy on biofouling management was drafted. At the second meeting (hosted and chaired by the Philippines), a review of the Draft Regional Strategy was conducted, and its implementation discussed, including initiatives related to biofouling management that are being implemented by countries and the private sector in the region.

However, during this third meeting the RTF adopted the Regional Strategy on Biofouling Management which sets out to establish a regional biofouling support unit; support research and technology development on invasive aquatic species and biofouling; operate comprehensive awareness and capacity building programs; develop financing mechanism and fund mobilization; and foster stakeholder collaboration and engagement. The RTF also discussed the importance of gender balance in the biofouling related maritime sector as part of GloFouling Partnerships key deliverables.

Dr. Hartanto also expressed that "the efforts made by IMO and PEMSEA have helped various countries, especially their maritime industries, to obtain best practices in biofouling management and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030".

During the site visit to the PT PAL Indonesia (Persero) shipyard the participants had the opportunity to view the ship building process and get to know a bit more how the largest dry dock in Indonesia operate.

The students and staff at the Technology Institute of Surabaya have showcased recently developed innovative solutions on Biofouling Management. In particular the attention was brought to a group of students who have built a prototype of the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) technology, which will be submitted to the annual competition of innovation, organized by the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Research and Technology of the Republic of Indonesia.

The protection of the marine environment is a shared responsibility and requires cooperation from various parties, including countries and international organizations. With an integrated approach and support from multiple sectors, positive steps can be taken to ensure healthy, sustainable oceans free from the threat of invasive aquatic species.

The third RTF meeting was attended by approximately 70 (seventy) participants consisting of representatives from 12 countries of the region. Also present were representatives from IMO, PEMSEA, academics from ITS Surabaya, Airlangga University, Brawijaya University, IPB Bogor, BP3IP, and Poltekpel Surabaya. Associations from INSA, IPERINDO and WIMA Indonesia, as well as related industries such as PT PAL, PT Pelindo, PT Bluestreak, Tas Global and Global TestNet.



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