STAFF REPORT KHI: Invasive species have emerged as a major problem in many countries with boost in trade and traffic volume affecting their ecology, economy and health, said marine experts at an international workshop recently held in Karachi.

The three-day workshop on Bio-invasion and ballast water management was organised by Saarc Coastal Zone Management Centre in collaboration with Climate Change Division. It was informed at the event that a number of invasive species have been introduced in Pakistans freshwater to increase fish productivity but no research has ever been carried out to examine their impact on the ecosystem.

Experts from Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Bangladesh and Afghanistan also attended the event.

“As soon as a solid object came in contact with seawater, organic matter started settling on its surface in the form of a slimy layer of glycoprotein film,” said Dr Shahid Amjad, former director general of the National Institute of Oceanography.

He also said that worldwide, over 400 marine organisms are important in causing fouling problems. This causes a very bad effect on fisheries production, shipping and the coastal industry and infrastructure due to infestation.

Representing the Pakistan National Shipping Corporation, retired captain S. Hashim Hasnain highlighted how the world developed anti-fouling system that was defined as a coating paint, surface treatment or a device used on a ship to control or prevent attachment of unwanted organisms.

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