Anchor Systems (anchor, chain, locker)
Anchor systems, including the anchor itself, anchor chain and storage locker, have been found to harbor aquatic nuisance species (ANS). ANS may associate with the anchor system through two possible mechanisms. In the first, ANS may attach to the anchor or chain as fouling organisms (much as would be found on the hulls of ships). A variety of mussel, barnacles, sponge and sea squirt species (to name a few) may settle onto the anchor or chain as juveniles and then grow, while attached to ths anchor system, into adults which may then be transported to a new bioregion and allowed to reproduce or drop off of the anchor in the new region. Fouling organisms are capable of growing quickly and hence even a short time at anchor may allow organisms to adhere to the anchor and chain and then be transported to a new region.
Another method by which ANS may be moved from one region to another on the anchor or chain is in the mud/sediment that accumulated on anchors as they latch onto the bottom. Organisms living in this mud or sediment may remain on the anchor as it is hauled aboard a ship. If the anchor is not washed of all mud or sediment when brought onboard, those organisms may survive in the damp mud until the anchor is released at the next port of call. These organisms may then invade this new habitat.
To prevent introduction of ANS by anchor systems, ships' crews should clean anchors and chain well. Special attention must be paid to the anchor chain, where smaller organisms may lodge themselves between the links and also in the nooks and crannies of the anchor itself.