The Regional organization for the Conservation of the Environment of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden (PERSGA) organized on the 17th of June 2021 a regional Seminar on “Biofouling Management and the Invasive Aquatic Species“ in perfect collaboration with the GloFouling Partnership Project Coordination Unit and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
The seminar was carried out under IMO’s Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP) framework as well as the GEF-UNDP-IMO GloFouling Partnerships Project which aims to build capacity in Participating countries in the region for implementing the IMO Biofouling and other relevant guidelines for biofouling management and to catalyse overall reductions in the transfer of Invasive Aquatic Species (IAS) introduced by marine biofouling with additional benefits in reducing the Greenhouse Gas emissions from global shipping.
The seminar aimed at enhancing awareness of the delegates from PERSGA member states on Biofouling and Invasive aquatic species and to understand the key aspects of the Glofouling Partnership Project and the international regulatory framework to manage marine biofouling. An additional objective is that this event support the inclusion of IAS and biofouling in the development of a Regional Biofouling Strategy.
The opening was kindly and formally provided by Dr Ahmed Khalil- Director of Projects at PERSGA on behalf of PERSGA´s Secretary General, H.E. Prof. Dr. Ziad Abu Ghararah. He welcomed all participants and expressed his appreciation to the Glofouling team and IMO and the facilitators. He stressed that PERSGA works in close collaboration with IMO to implement activities related to biofouling management and the best practices for the maritime sectors which occur in some of PERSGA countries to ensure that the benefits and lessons learnt from national experiences will be spread throughout the region. He added that PERSGA strives to build the capacity of its Member states towards the promotion of sustainable development of maritime activities in order to preserve more sustainably its marine environment and enhance the marine biosafety.
The Seminar presentations and materials were delivered by two international facilitators with significant experience in Biofouling and Invasive Aquatic from the Arab Academy for Science Technology, and Maritime Transport of Alexandria (Egypt), and the National Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries (Egypt), in addition to two experts from Glofouling Partnership Project and IMO. The seminar programme, contained a series of technical presentations on the various aspects of the Glofouling Project, topics related to Biofouling− how does it happen, the Invasive Aquatic Species and the IMO voluntary-based guidelines adopted in 2011.
During this seminar, the participants were able to acquire and gain knowledge on the main challenges and considerations, the environmental and socio-economic impacts, and most importantly the risks posed by the introduction of biofouling-mediated invasive Aquatic Species by shipping and other marine activities.
The Seminar was attended by about 31 specialists representing various relevant agencies in PERSGA member states. The raising-awareness regional Seminar held for the PERSGA member states achieved all the objectives according to the feedback from Participants and they expressed their satisfaction with the Seminar. From many of the participant’s interventions, it was obvious that such capacity building activities need to sustain in order to enhance the knowledge on the guidelines and latest industry-based guidance and the international regulatory framework in areas related to ship’s Biofouling. Moreover, the raising-awareness seminar supports the inclusion of IAS and biofouling in the development of a Regional Biofouling Strategy.