Limiting invasive species in ballast water

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Abstract

[1] Ballast water is often intentionally loaded onto cargo ships and other vessels to provide weight necessary for safe maneuvering. However, this practice can unintentionally transport exotic organisms to parts of the world where populations of these organisms can establish themselves in new habitats as invasive and environmentally and economically disruptive species. Each year, an estimated 196 million metric tons of ballast water are discharged into U.S. coastal waters and the Great Lakes alone from an average of more than 90,000 visits of commercial ships greater than 300 metric tons, according to a 2 June report by the U.S. National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies.

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