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"Jamaica Aims to Ratify Ballast Water Management Convention"

Potentially damaging effects of ballast water on sensitive marine environments will be among the topics discussed tomorrow, January 25, 2011 at an important workshop on Ballast Water Management and Marine Invasive Species in Jamaica, hosted by the University of the West Indies, Department of Life Sciences.

Bertrand Smith, The Maritime Authority of Jamaica's Director of Legal Affairs, will deliver a presentation on the implications of ratifying the IMO's Ballast Water Management Convention 2004. Mr Smith chairs the 25-country task force on the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments in the Wider Caribbean Region.

The presentation will highlight the main features of the Ballast Water Management Convention as well as the legislative and policy steps being taken by Jamaica's National Task Force, chaired by the Maritime Authority, to give full and proper effect to the Convention to which Jamaica expects to accede during 2011. Also the regional marine invasive species strategy will be unveiled.

Delegates attending the workshop at the Medallion Hall Hotel in Kingston, will also learn of the findings of a three-year study funded by the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica entitled "The impact of marine invasive species on Jamaica's biological diversity through the release of ballast water." The project analysed ballast water samples from international vessels coming into Jamaica to test their potential for marine invasive species.

Over recent months Mr Smith has been actively promoting the need for Jamaica to sign the IMO convention by hosting and attending numerous workshops and presentations locally and throughout the region. He explained: "The MAJ believes it is vital for Jamaica and other Countries in the region to accede to the IMO's Ballast Water Management Convention due to its strategic location as a marine hub for maritime traffic, including the accommodation of one third of the world's oil traffic and the existence of highly sensitive marine ecosytems at risk of devastation by marine invasive species carried in ballast water."

Instrumental to the workshop were also the National Environment and Planning Agency, National Council on Oceans and Coastal Zone Management and the Institute of Jamaica.






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