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Baltic Sea Science Congress joint BMB WG NEMO and SIL WG AIS Workshop

Aquatic Bioinvasions: Research Agenda for the Baltic

University of Helsinki
Helsinki, Finland
Dates: August 26-27, 2003

Workshop Report

During the 2003 Baltic Sea Science Congress (BSSC) five oral presentations and 13 posters on biological invaders in the Baltic Sea were presented. In addition a workshop on biological invasions was held. In total 28 participants from Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden attended the meeting. This Workshop was a joined initiative of BSSC2003, the BMB WG30 Non-indigenous Estuarine and Marine Organisms (NEMO) and SIL Working Group on Aquatic Invasive Species (WG AIS) with support of the GEF funded Baltic Sea Regional Project (BSRP). The workshop, chaired by Stephan Gollasch, Germany, consisted of two afternoon meeting sessions (Monday, August 25th and 26th 2003). The meeting was arranged in a series of plenary sessions. Following introducing lectures on day one attendees started a round table discussion on day two. The following paragraphs summarize the discussions:

1. Regional cooperation: The NEMO Discussion Club
The group recommends to establish an Internet-based email discussion group to exchange information (study progress reports, recent publications, new first records of invaders, and other relevant information). This initiative will be established and maintained by Ari Laine, Finland. Sergej Olenin, Lithuania, volunteered to support the discussion group once the GEF funded BSRP has started. It is planned to regularly amalgamate the information received and to update the BMB NEMO group and others, such as the ICES Working Group on Introductions and Transfers of Marine Organisms (WGITMO) and the ICES/IOC/IMO Study Group on Ballast and other Ship Vectors (SGBOSV). It was suggested to base this discussion group at www.bmbnemo.fi (to be established).
2. Planning of NorFa PhD course
The group agreed to support the preparation of a series of PhD courses to improve student education in the field of biological invasions. Courses should include practical exercises. The group recommends further to possibly include experts from all Baltic countries and not to limit the course to attendees from Nordic countries alone. It was discussed, but not agreed upon, to held the planned initial course in one of the “Balticum countries”. It was further discussed to initiate a close cooperation of relevant projects, such as BITIS (Finland), AquAliens (Sweden) and BSRP (ICES), in the planning phase of the student courses. Possible course items may include, but should not be limited to invasion biology, (mathematical) models related to bioinvaders, risk assessment, and biological data requirements.The group noted that relevant funding applications needs to be made until May 2004 and that the first course may be held in 2005.
3. BMB Report 17
The group agreed to prepare a BMB NEMO report to be published in the BMB Report Series as report 17. The group recommends that BMB may consider the following topics as content / focus of the report: - summarize available impact information on invaders in the Baltic Sea, - economic impact of invaders, - ecological impact of invaders - outline research gaps
The publication should further include a Baltic handbook on invasion biology (definitions, species found, impacts, vectors, history, information resources, institutions, key scientists etc.).
4. Contribute to IMO MEPC Ballast Water Group
The group agreed to contribute to the next meeting of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations shipping authority, Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) Ballast Water Working Group (BWWG) and to the IMO based GloBallast Programme. Stephan Gollasch, Germany, volunteered to prepare a draft document for consideration of the working group with the following content:
4.1 GloBallast Programme
BMB NEMO suggests to recommend the Gulf of Finland for consideration as one „demonstration site“ of the next phase of GloBallast Programme (GloBallast II, subject to approval).
4.2 Contribution to IMO MEPC BWWG
The group agreed to contribute to the next meeting of the IMO MEPC BWWG by submitting a document in behalf of BMB (subject of approval) including an introduction to the BMB work relevant to IAS (e.g. Klaipeda database, network), to express the concern of BMB NEMO outlining the Baltic as a very fragile ecosystem potentially at risk when uncontrolled ballast water releases will continue, expressing an urgent need for effective and environmentally sound ballast water treatment, and to support the concept of the IMO Ballast Water Convention and its global application.
5. BMB Klaipeda Meeting in 2003
Once the BSRP has started a BMB NEMO meeting is planned for two or three full working days in Klaipeda, Lithuania. Agenda items may include  improvement of the „Klaipeda database“, content details of BMB Report 17,  how to create awareness in ongoing and planned monitoring programmes to include IAS. Further Agenda items should be compiled soon and made available to Sergej Olenin, Lithuania.
6. Joint Workshop of SIL WG AIS /BMB WG NEMO at the SIL XXIX Congress, Lahti, Finland in 2004
Workshop attendees are invited to submit abstracts for the SIL XXIX Congress, Lahti, Finland in 2004 for the consideration of the planning committee. It is recommended to arrange joint workshops (e.g. SIL WG AIS/BMB WG NEMO) at the meeting and to establish contacts for mutual benefit. More information and a call for papers will be released soon.

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