Cargo We Don't Want

Hundreds of idled container ships may be picking up a different kind of cargo — invasive species that could be spread around the globe when those ships go back into service.

An economic recovery could lead to unforeseen environmental damage are scraped clean of "biofouling," Oliver Floerl of New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research told Michael Reilly of Discovery News. Reilly looks at the issue in an article you may read here.

A large ship could have up to 80 tons of 'biofouling' accumulated on its hull, Floerl said, including barnacles, mussels and crabs.

Reilly takes note of ballast water regulations designed to prevent the spread of invasive species, buts points out that those rules don't extend to biofouling's "living rind."

Those species wind up in places like the Chesapeake Bay, where green crabs or northern Africa are muscling out the native blue crabs of Maryland and Virginia. (They've already had an impact on the clamming industry in New England).

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