The goal of the ICES Working Group on the Introduction and Transfers of Marine Organisms (WGITMO) is to contribute to the ICES vision and mission by addressing specific science objectives related to the introduction, spread and impacts of non-indigenous marine species (NIS). The expert working group provides information and advice on the impacts of human activities (e.g. pressures caused by invasive species, litter, aquaculture, biofouling) on marine ecosystems including the Arctic. The Terms of Reference include annual national reporting on NIS detections and research, climate change impact on the spread of NIS, the risk and impacts of NIS, vectors of spread of NIS including biofouling, marine debris and aquaculture.
This report summarizes the key findings and outcomes from the 2020–2022 term. A joint meeting in (2020) with WGBOSV [Ballast Water and Other Ship Vectors] and WGHABD [Harmful Algal Bloom Dynamics] was held to discuss scientific issues of joint interest including climate change in the Arctic environment, and early detection of and response to species through the use of innovative molecular tools. The discussion on molecular tools was used by the groups to develop the framework for a targeted Molecular Tools workshop in conjunction with at the International Conference for Marine Bioinvasions (ICMB) in May 2023.
National activities were presented and discussed from over 20 countries each year. Common themes included, new species introduction and monitoring, recent activities on traditional and innovative methods for detection and surveillance (including molecular tools). Science highlights include the submission of the ICES biofouling viewpoint to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) regarding biofouling guidelines, development and publication of a global scale NIS screening tool, and publication of a global review of NIS trends over 50 years. The Information system on aquatic non-indigenous and cryptogenic species AquaNIS continues as the main repository of new NIS data. The expert group will continue to work collaboratively with PICES, CIESM and other ICES working groups and international organizations focussing on impacts, innovative research tools, and vectors of NIS as it relates to human activities and pressures on marine ecosystems.
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