The Convention on Ballast Water Management: Considering initial impacts of the Convention on the management of alien invasive species in Australia and Denmark, and enhancing the Convention’s effectiveness by introducing best practices as early interventions.

A/Prof Ed Couzens1, Assistant Professor Beatriz Martinez Romera2

1University Of Sydney Law School, Camperdown, Australia, 2Faculty of Law University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark


The problem of alien invasive aquatic species introduced to new environments has increased as trade and traffic volume have expanded; and the impacts of such introductions have been, per the IMO, ‘devastating’ in many areas of the world with ‘quantitative data’ showing that the rate of bio-invasions is increasing alarmingly. Furthermore, ‘as the volumes of seaborne trade continue overall to increase, the problem may not yet have reached its peak’.  Climate change is likely to exacerbate the impacts of the movement of such species.

This research analyses early steps taken in Australia and Denmark to implement and enforce obligations imposed by the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004 (BWM), which came into force in late 2017.

This research will analyse, compare and contrast steps taken in anticipation of, and shortly after, the BWM’s entry into force. The authors believe there will be considerable value in such comparative analysis, given the  importance of the two states to world shipping and as progenitors of sound environmental practices. The research will then consider how early interventions might increase the effectiveness of international environmental agreements generally, in contrast to the ‘wait and see’ approach more usually adopted. Our intention is that this research project will then expand in future years to incorporate experiences from other jurisdictions. This research is driven by a key idea – that rapid responsive corrections are likely to be more beneficial than corrections made after first taking a ‘wait and see’ approach.


This is to be a joint presentation by two authors who work in different, but overlapping, fields:

Beatriz researches in the areas of climate change and shipping law; Ed researches wildlife law and biodiversity conservation, with a particular interest in migratory species.

Beatriz is the author of the book “Regime Interaction and Climate Change: the Case of International Aviation and Maritime Transport” (Routledge 2017); has held her PhD since 2015; and teaches in the Faculty of Law at the University of Copenhagen. She has held a number of research grants and participated in numerous boards and committees in the climate change and environmental fields; and has attended a number of conferences of the parties to the UNFCCC and the International Maritime Organization.

Ed is the author of the book “Whales and Elephants in International Conservation Law and Politics” (Routledge 2014); has held his PhD since 2009; and teaches in the University of Sydney Law School. He has attended six meetings of the International Whaling Commission as a member of the South Africa delegation, as well as conferences of the parties to CITES and the UNFCCC.

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