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Mar Pollut Bull. 2013 Mar 15;68(1-2):99-105. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2012.12.016. Epub 2013 Jan 18.

Difficulties in obtaining representative samples for compliance with the Ballast Water Management Convention.

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School of Marine Science and Technology, Dove Marine Laboratory, Newcastle University, Cullercoats NE30 4PZ, UK.


As implementation of the Ballast Water Convention draws nearer a major challenge is the development of protocols which accurately assess compliance with the D-2 Standard. Many factors affect the accuracy of assessment: e.g. large volume of ballast water, the shape, size and number of ballast tanks and the heterogeneous distribution of organisms within tanks. These factors hinder efforts to obtain samples that truly represent the total ballast water onboard a vessel. A known cell density of Tetraselmis suecica was added to a storage tank and sampled at discharge. The factors holding period, initial cell density and sampling interval affected representativeness. Most samples underestimated cell density, and some tanks with an initial cell density of 100 cells ml(-1) showed <10 cells ml(-1) at discharge, i.e. met the D-2 standard. This highlights difficulties in achieving sample representativeness and when applied to a real ballast tank this will be much harder to achieve.

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