(OTTAWA, Ontario) — The government of Canada has announced $12.5 million in funding to launch the Ballast Water Innovation Program as part of Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan.
The program, which is a central component of Canada’s efforts to advance the implementation and enforcement of the 2021 Ballast Water Regulations, will play an important role in further reducing the spread of aquatic invasive species in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River region by investing in innovative solutions to ballast water management.
Evidence shows that ballast water management systems are an effective solution in the region. However, technical challenges caused by unique water conditions, such as cooler temperatures and heavy sedimentation rates, can pose a challenge to ballast water management systems. To address these challenges and prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, this program will:
• Fund research projects that ensure ballast water management systems are optimized for unique water environments in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River region;
• Provide innovative solutions to ensure the successful implementation of the new ballast water regulations and prevent the entry and spread of invasive aquatic species in the region;
• Enable the government of Canada to deepen its technical expertise relating to ballast water management system issues; and
• Inform Canada’s discussions with the U.S. and other countries toward more compatible rules and increased environmental protections.
Transport Canada is now accepting applications for research funding from Canadian vessel owners and operators, Canadian port authorities, not-for-profit organizations, public sector organizations, and academia until May 10. Approved projects are expected to begin in 2023.
“Our government is taking action to limit the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species through the Ballast Water Innovation Program,” said Omar Alghabra, minister of Transport. “This will support our dedication to protecting Canada’s coastlines and waterways. The Oceans Protection Plan is helping to protect the environment by supporting sustainable marine shipping practices, and today’s announcement is a further demonstration of this commitment.”
• Most ballast water management systems have been developed for warmer saltwater conditions typically encountered by oceangoing vessels. Great Lakes regional water conditions are cold, fresh, and sometimes heavily sedimented.
• The Ballast Water Innovation Program is a central component of Canada’s efforts to advance the implementation and enforcement of the 2021 Ballast Water Regulations. These regulations address Canada’s commitments under the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004, and require the use of ballast water management systems.
• Project results will enable Transport Canada to deepen its technical expertise relating to unique Canadian ballast water management system issues and support international collaboration with the United States and at the International Maritime Organization, including on research and development efforts.
– Transport Canada