Great Ships Initiative to Combat Aquatic Nuisance Species

Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Ports of Indiana officials will join industry and government leaders in Duluth on Wednesday to announce the launch of the Great Ships Initiative, a $3.5m research center that is the first in the Great Lakes region designed to specifically focus on developing the technology necessary to prevent the introduction of aquatic nuisance species into the Great Lakes by ocean-going ships. Leaders of over a dozen major U.S. and Canadian Great Lakes ports will be joined by scientists and federal agency officials at a ceremony in Duluth/Superior harbor to announce the project. Research efforts will be based within the University of Wisconsin-Superior. The project will be co-managed by the Northeast-Midwest Institute, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, both of Washington, D.C. An executive committee of maritime industry stakeholders will provide broad oversight for the program. Several technical advisory committees will provide advice on topics relating to ships’ engineering and biological efficiency.

The Indiana General Assembly declared its support for the “Great Ships Initiative” earlier this year by passing House Concurrent Resolution No. 35 recognizing the need for protection of the Great Lakes’ environmental and economic resources. “This is a very important initiative that will impact shipping around the world,” said Rich Cooper, executive director for the Ports of Indiana. “Aquatic nuisance species are unwelcome hitchhikers on our ships and we hope the Great Ships Initiative will help develop the technology necessary to combat this problem. Waterborne shipping is the most environmentally friendly mode of transportation and this is one way we can make it even better.”

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