for the full report. Below is the executive summary:
The Great Lakes Seaway Ballast Water Working Group (BWWG), comprised of representatives from the United States Coast Guard (USCG), the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC), Transport Canada - Marine Safety & Security (TCMSS), and the Canadian St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC), compiled the 2014 Summary of Great Lakes Seaway Ballast Management report. The group’s mandate is to develop, enhance, and coordinate binational compliance and enforcement efforts to reduce the introduction of aquatic invasive species via ballast water and residuals. The BWWG is actively engaged in providing an energetic response to calls for tougher ballast water regulation of ocean-going vessels transiting the Seaway.
In 2014, 100% of vessels bound for the Great Lakes Seaway from outside the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) received ballast management exams on each Seaway transit. In total, all 8,497ballast tanks were assessed during the 454 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. Vessels that were unable to exchange their ballast water/residuals and that were required to retain them onboard received a verification exam during their outbound transit prior to exiting the Seaway. In addition, 100% of ballast water reporting forms were screened to assess ballast water history, compliance, voyage information and proposed discharge location. BWWG verification efforts indicated that there was no non- compliant ballast water discharged in the Great Lakes Seaway system. The BWWG anticipates continued high vessel compliance rates for the 2015 navigation season.
Since 2006, ballast water management requirements in the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway system have been the most stringent in the world. USCG, TCMSS, and Seaway ballast regulations that include saltwater flushing, detailed documentation requirements, increased inspections, and civil penalties provide a comprehensive regulatory enforcement regime to protect the Great Lakes Seaway system. Independent research by the Fisheries and Oceans Canada (Science) indicates that the risk of a ballast water mediated introduction of aquatic invasive species into the Great Lakes has been mitigated to extremely low levels.
These ballast water requirements have been further enhanced by the promulgation of USCG and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations.