The Early Warning System Concept

A regionally harmonized Early Warning System (EWS) for timely communication of findings of Harmful Aquatic Organisms and Pathogens (HAOP1) has been developed for the Baltic Sea area in accordance with the International Convention on the control and management of ships’ ballast water and sediments (International Maritime Organisation, 2004).

The aim of the EWS is to reduce the risk of spreading HAOP by minimizing the uptake and discharge of ballast water which could be harmful to the recipient port or area. This is achieved by issuing a warning signal to (1) vessels to prevent loading of ballast water when critical biological conditions occur in ports and surrounding areas, i.e. mass development or blooms of HAOP, and to (2) environmental and health authorities when Target Species2 or other organisms, which can be identified as HAOP, are present in ports or port vicinity to enable early response and implementation of remediation measures.

Focal points identified by national authorities are entitled to send and/or receive information on findings of HAOP under signed agreement with the AquaNIS Editorial Board.

  • 1Harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens (HAOP). Aquatic organisms or pathogens which, if introduced into the sea including estuaries, or into fresh water courses, may create hazards to the environment, human health, property or resources, impair biological diversity or interfere with other legitimate uses of such areas (IMO, International Convention on the control and management of ships’ ballast water and sediments. International Maritime Organisation. 2004).
  • 2Species identified by a Party that meet specific criteria indicating that they may impair or damage the environment, human health, property or resources and are defined for a specific port, State or biogeographic region (IMO, 2007).
EWS Concept