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Working group curbs invasive species threat

The Great Lakes Seaway Ballast Water Working Group announces the release of the 2013 Summary of Great Lakes Seaway ballast water management report.

The mission of the working group is to harmonize ballast water management efforts among the U. S. Coast Guard, Transport Canada-Marine Safety and Security, the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. and the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp.

Since 2006, ballast water management requirements in the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway System have been the most stringent in the world. As a result, independent research by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (Science) has indicated the risk of new aquatic invasive species being introduced into the Great Lakes by ballast water has been mitigated to extremely low levels.

In 2013, 100 percent of ships bound for the Great Lakes through the St. Lawrence Seaway from outside the Exclusive Economic Zone received a ballast tank exam. In total, working group partner agencies examined 6,803 ballast tanks during 371 vessel transits. Vessels that did not exchange their ballast water or flush their ballast tanks were required to either retain the ballast water and residuals on board, treat the ballast water in an environmentally sound and approved manner, or return to sea to conduct a ballast water exchange.

This is the fifth consecutive year that group agencies ensured the examination of 100 percent of ballast tanks entering the Great Lakes through the St. Lawrence Seaway, and the group anticipates continued high ship compliance rates for the 2014 navigation season.

The report is available at

For more information, contact Lt. Michael Collet at 216-902-6051 or

More information on ballast water, as well as links to previous ballast water management report, can be found on the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System website.