Event Abstract

Anchor scour associated with international shipping near ports: assessing impacts on seafloor biota

  • 1 University of Wollongong, Australia
  • 2 NSW Office of Environment & Heritage, Australia

International shipping is the backbone of the global economy with more than 90% of the world’s trade by volume transported by ship. The potential environmental impacts of this multi-billion dollar Industry have received considerable attention, particularly emissions into air and sea. Many of these large vessels lay at anchor for extended periods while awaiting their turn to enter port and yet this aspect of their interaction with the natural environment has received scant attention. In shallow near-shore environments anchoring impacts are well studied and can be dramatic, while the deeper anchorages of larger ocean-going vessels remain virtually unstudied. With anchor that can exceed 30 tonnes, chains up to hundreds of metres in length and individual links weighing up to 200kg, there is potential for significant impacts on seafloor biota in these deepwater anchorages where shipping is concentrated. Filling knowledge gaps in these environments is logistically challenging and expensive. Further, the identity and vulnerability of many of the seafloor taxa that are likely to be impacted is unknown. Here we use a range of remote sampling techniques to assess the vulnerability of organisms in deepwater to anchor scour. Our aims are to identify areas of high conservation value and consider the complex governance of anchoring given its inclusion within the international right of “innocent passage”. We are engaging with Industry and policy makers to provide evidence-based assessments to decision makers to support them in the environmental management of anchoring.

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Keywords: shipping, Global Maritime Trade, anchoring, Innocent Passage, Environmental impact

Conference: IMMR'18 | International Meeting on Marine Research 2018, Peniche, Portugal, 5 Jul - 6 Jul, 2018.

Presentation Type: Oral Presentation

Topic: Biodiversity, Conservation and Coastal Management

Citation: Davis AR, Steele C, Gullet W, Reveley J, Schofield C, Ingleton T and Broad A (2019). Anchor scour associated with international shipping near ports: assessing impacts on seafloor biota. Front. Mar. Sci. Conference Abstract: IMMR'18 | International Meeting on Marine Research 2018. doi: 10.3389/conf.FMARS.2018.06.00028

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Received: 25 Apr 2018; Published Online: 07 Jan 2019.

* Correspondence: Prof. Andrew R Davis, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia, adavis@uow.edu.au