California’s Marine Invasive Species Program and the United States Federal Programs that Manage Vessels as Vectors of Nonindigenous Species: A Comparison of the Relative Effectiveness at Reducing the Risk of Nonindigenous Species Introduction from Maritime Shipping Activities

Dec 1, 2013 | Marine Invasive Species Program, Publications

California Public Resources Code (PRC) Section 71271 states that if a federal program and regulations similar to those adopted by California’s Marine Invasive Species Program (MISP) are established and implemented, the Commission shall submit a report to the State Legislature within eight months of the implementation of the federal program. The report shall compare California’s Marine Invasive Species Program with the federal program and make a finding as to the federal program’s relative effectiveness in preventing the introduction of marine invasive species from vessels visiting California. Upon completion of the analysis, the Commission is required to recommend repeal of the MISP only if the federal program “is equally or more effective at implementing and funding effective controls on the release of aquatic invasive species into the waters of the state.” In June 2012, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) enacted regulations establishing numerical standards for the discharge of living organisms in ships’ ballast water. Vessels will be required to comply with the discharge standards beginning on December 1, 2013. In March 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the 2013 Vessel General Permit (VGP), which also contains ballast water discharge standards with an effective date of December 19, 2013. The adoption and implementation of numeric standards for the discharge of ballast water at the federal level was determined by Commission staff as an appropriate trigger to initiate the comparison and analysis required by law. This report, prepared for the California Legislature, summarizes this analysis and fulfills the mandate set forth in PRC section 71271.