Marine biological invasion via the maritime industry is one of the greatest threats to marine biodiversity. While biological invasion by natural means is an ecological process that regulates marine biodiversity, biological invasion mediated by human activity is likely to place ecological communities in disequilibrium which may lead to localized extinctions as well as economic and public health impacts. In the global maritime industry, this is largely through ballast water discharge and biofouling of ships hulls. The ecological effects of maritime industry mediated biological invasion are well documented in the literature.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has recognized the biological invasion threat posed by invasive aquatic species (IAS). The IMO has presented two conventions, the Ballast Water Management and the Anti Fouling Systems that mandate signatory maritime states to implement appropriate measures to prevent the introduction of and manage the adverse environmental impacts of IAS.