COMPLETE (Completing management options in the Baltic Sea Region to reduce risk of invasive species introduction by shipping) is an Interreg Baltic Sea Region funded project to minimise introduction of invasive species carried by ships. The project focuses on the issue in the Baltic Sea region, and it brings together 12 organisations across the region.

Invasive species are identified as a major threat to the world’s oceans and biodiversity. The most important vector introducing harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens in marine environment is shipping. There are two main ways ships spread alien species – through ballast water and hull fouling.


COMPLETE project will provide a comprehensive approach on the complex issue. Through delivering required management tools and practical guidelines, it will find a harmonized way to comply with the requirements set by the IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention in the Baltic Sea region.

As ballast water is just one side of the problem, the project focuses also on the hull fouling. IMO biofouling guidelines provide useful information on practices to minimize the role of this pathway. The question is, to what extent these guidelines are followed by shipping industry, how the awareness is and how applicable these guidelines are for the BSR. The results from the project can be used for improving biofouling management and planning a proposal for a biofouling strategy for the Baltic Sea region.

To find effective and consistent practices for minimising the spread of invasive species, it is important that there is genuine dialogue between researchers and the industry. Thus COMPLETE will actively involve several target groups, including authorities, the private sector and the public.

Baltic Sea specific approach to the prevention of invasive species

In three years, COMPLETE will develop management strategies and tools specifically for the Baltic Sea region. By addressing one of the key challenges in the region, the goal of the project is to develop operational frameworks and provide user-oriented tools, in close cooperation with relevant stakeholders, to make shipping more environmentally friendly.

Read also: Interreg Baltic Sea Region: COMPLETE

Project Contact

Miina Karjalainen
Kotka Maritime Research Centre
Tel: +358 44 522 2843

Photo: Sergej Olenin