AIS and Ballast Management
With about 11,000 km of coast line (one-third that of Antarctica), the threat and potential impact of aquatic invasive species (AIS) to Mexico is significant. Management of aquatic invasive species (AIS) in Mexico is under the charge of the National Commission of Agricultural and Animal Health (CONASAG) and the National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO). CONASAG mainly focuses on "invasive" diseases facing agriculture, and not AIS. In Mexico, the National Commission for the Knowledge and use of Biodiversity (CONABIO) is the government agency in charge of maintaining the National Information System on Biodiversity (SNIB). This is done through funding projects focused on gathering information on biodiversity, providing government and private decision makers with updated information, publication and distribution of information in different formats, following up international agreements and providing services to the general public. For a number of years, CONABIO has been working on the subject of invasive species at different levels. At the federal level it is coordinating a national strategy for invasive species. This is focused on establishing an integrated plan to regulate the actions and efforts needed to face the issue of invasive species, at all levels. CONABIO is currently analyzing the results from the first survey on the topic, that was applied to various institutions, and it is in the process of forming a committee to support the development of said strategy.
CONABIO is also following the issue at different national and international forums and has published a new version of its invasive species portal, with an updated list of species present in
Currently, existing regulations governing AIS are limited to the recently-updated Fisheries Law Regulation (updates given below). There are a few others (primarily relating to prevention of diseases), but despite the approximately 50 million cubic meters of ballast water discharged into Mexican water annually, Mexico does not have any ballast water or vessel fouling programs or regulations in place.
Pending AIS Legislation
There is an initiative to modify two laws (la Ley General de Equilibrio Ecológico y Protección al Ambiente – General Law for Ecological Equilibrium and Protection, and la Ley General de Vida Silvestre – General Law for Wildlife) regarding invasive species (below). This proposal was submitted to the Commission for Environment, Natural Resources and Fisheries and the Commission for Legislative Studies of the Senate of the
The bill proposes to modify the Environment Law to say:
ARTICLE 87 BIS 3.- The import of alien exotic species or wild species that harbor such invasive species which represent a threat to the biodiversity, economy and public health will not be authorized.
And the Wildlife Law would also be modified to say:
ARTICLE 27 BIS.- The release or introduction of alien invasive species into habitats and natural ecosystmes will not be authorized.
Other articles will also be modified to define an invasive species and to instruct the Environment Ministry to create regulations to list invasive species and the methods to control and erradicate them.
(Translated by Yuri Okolodkov, 31 March 2008)
Existing AIS Legislation
Ley General de Pesca y Acuacultura Sustentables (General Law of Fishing and Sustainable Aquaculture)
Diario Oficial, Martes 24 de julio de 2007.
Chapter I. About the object.
Art. 4. XXIII. Introduction of species. Activities regarding the species that are not naturally distributed and inhabit the water body to which one pretends to introduce.
Art. 29. IX. To help to perform a risk evaluation of the introduction, establishment and distribution of aquatic plagues and diseases.
Art. 41. XIII. Introduction and repopulation of living species in water bodies under the federal jurisdiction.
Art. 89. V. The same as above (Art. 41. XIII).
Art. 96. As regards the living species that do not exist naturally in the water body under the federal jurisdiction, the Secretary, considering the opinion of INAPESCA, and according to the results of the previous period of quarantine, will solve the origin of the introduction taking into account the regulations derived from the present Law.
It will be a requirement to obtain a permit to introduce species into water bodies under the federal jurisdiction that the applicant have the aquatic welfare certificate given by SENASICA under this Law. The applicant can initiate a formal procedure to obtain the permit mentioned above before the Secretary, but the permit will not be given and included into a relevant record until the SENASICA certificate is obtained.
Art. 104. The Secretary will issue the Normas Oficiales Mexicanas and will establish the measures for diagnosis, detection, eradication, prevention and control to avoid the introduction and dispersion of diseases and to determine and classify the pathologies of high risk; also, to evaluate damage, to restore the impacted areas and to establish formal procedures.
Art. 105. V. Art. 89. V. The same as above (Art. 41. XIII).
Art. 107. In concessions and permits for aquaculture trade, the sanitary conditions required by the organisms to be introduced into the installations dedicated to the production of the initial developmental phases of any aquatic organism will be established.
Acronyms: INAPESCA – Instituto Nacional de la Pesca y Acuicultura; SENASICA – Servicio Nacional de Sanidad, Inocuidad y Calidad Agroalimentaria de SAGARPA (Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación).
Translated by Yuri Okolodkov, Mexico City, 13 January 2008
Hull Fouling Management
While the risk of ballast-mediated introductions continues to increases steadily as international shipping routes increase, the AIS risk due to vessel fouling is expected to increase sharply as Mexico completes the federal project, "Escalera Nautica" (Nautical Staircase). This project will build or redevelop 22 marinas along the Baja coast, and is expected to increase the number of boats tavelling along the Mexico coast to about 76,400 (52,000 of those from the southwest US).
Improving AIS management faces several challenges:
1) Mexican ports are mixed enterprises (both private and government owned) which makes it difficult to coordinate AIS efforts;
2) Restricted funding;
3) Limited knowledge on AIS, especially those in Mexico; and
4) Insufficient infrastructure and technology to manage the problem.
AIS in Mexico
The full extent of AIS in Mexican waters is unknown due to a lack of knowledge of non-indigenous vs. indigenous species, as well as a lack of species surveys. For a full list of confirmed and potential AIS in Mexico and more information on Mexico's AIS management efforts, please refer to the reference below, or contact: Dr. Yuri Okolodkov, Universidad Veracruzana, firstname.lastname@example.org
Literature related to AIS in Mexico:
Yuri B. Okolodkov, Rolando Bastida-Zavala, Ana L. Ibáñez, John W. Chapman, Eduardo Suárez-Morales, Francisco Pedroche, Francisco José Gutiérrez-Mendieta. 2007. Especies acuaticas no indigenas en Mexico. Ciencia y Mar XI (32): 29-67.
ANA LAURA CARBAJAL HERNÁNDEZ, "RUTA DE INFECCIÓN DEL VIRUS DEL SÍNDROME DE LA MANCHA BLANCA (WSSV) EN Penaeus vannamei (Boone, 1931) MEDIANTE INFECCIÓN VIA ORAL" (MS thesis, UNIVERSIDAD DE SONORA, 2007).