Ballast Water and Invasive Species in the Arctic

Henrik Holbech, Knud Ladegaard Pedersen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterCommunication


Ship’s ballast water has been a vector for the spreading of nonindigenous invasive species (NIS) around the globe for more than a century and has had devastating impact on aquatic ecosystems in many regions. Due to the harsh climate, shipping activities in Arctic waters have been limited compared to many parts of the world but will increase in the coming years due to climate changes. This will potentially affect the pristine Arctic marine ecosystems by introduction of NIS. In this chapter, we present the international ballast water regulations that have entered into force and the specific challenges of ballast water management in relation to the Arctic environment and marine ecosystems. We discuss the risk of NIS affecting the Arctic marine ecosystems including the impact of increased shipping activity, changes in living conditions of marine organisms because of climate changes and lack of knowledge of the eco-physiological boundaries and distributions of Arctic marine species. It is concluded that at present only a few marine NIS have been recorded in the Arctic area. Despite the existing and planned ballast water regulations, NIS establishment in the region will increase with an unknown magnitude due to lack of biological data.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArctic Marine Resource Governance and Development
EditorsNiels Vestergaard, Brooks A. Kaiser, Linda Fernandez, Joan Nymand Larsen
Publication date1. Apr 2018
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-67364-6
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-67365-3
Publication statusPublished - 1. Apr 2018
SeriesSpringer Polar Sciences


  • Arctic marine ecosystems
  • Ballast water regulations
  • Climate changes
  • IMO
  • Nonindigenous invasive species
  • Ship’s ballast water
  • US Coast Guard


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