Resolutions concerning ballast water were approved by the General Assembly in each of the Bay states this year, and will soon be sent to Congress.

The resolutions make a number of recommendations for dealing with ballast water. Among them:

  • The federal government should implement programs and fund research to help prevent the introductions of nonindigenous species via ballast water into the Bay and other at-risk coastal areas.

  • The U.S. Coast Guard, or another designated agency, should implement and widely publicize a national program that sets voluntary ballast water management guidelines for ships arriving in the Chesapeake Bay and other U.S. ports.

  • The U.S. Coast Guard, in consultation with the shipping industry and the research community, should develop a reasonable reporting mechanism for vessels arriving in the Chesapeake Bay and other ports to collect data about the participation in the voluntary program.

  • A "vigorous" multilingual education campaign should be conducted with the voluntary ballast water management program to raise awareness of the issue among the crews and agents of ships.

  • A mandatory approach to ballast water management could be implemented after the voluntary program is evaluated, community, should develop a reasonable reporting mechanism for vessels arriving in the Chesapeake Bay and other ports to collect data about the participation in the voluntary program.

  • A "vigorous" multilingual education campaign should be conducted with the voluntary ballast water management program to raise awareness of the issue among the crews and agents of ships.

  • A mandatory approach to ballast water management could be implemented after the voluntary program is evaluated, but not until the voluntary program has had at least two years to work.

  • International regulations should be developed that would require all International Maritime Organization members to collaboratively undertake ballast water management protocols.

  • Work should continue to reach a long-term international consensus on the design and construction of vessels that operate safely while allowing for offshore exchange of ballast water and/or while allowing for other means to reduce the transport of living organisms by ships ballast systems.

  • Congress should support legislation calling for the demonstration of ballast water management technologies and practices that help prevent nonindigenous species from being introduced, and that the Chesapeake Bay be explicitly designated as a site for a public/private collaboration to demonstrate new technologies and practices that will reduce the risk of nonindigenous species introduction.