American Coatings Association

ACA Supports California’s Biofouling Regulation Amendments

Biofouling Regulations


Last month, ACA submitted comments to the California State Lands Commission, supporting proposed amendments to the commission’s Biofouling Management Regulations for Vessels Arriving at California Ports. ACA expressed support for streamlined reporting that lessens the burden on ship operators.

The proposed regulation repeals the previous requirement to submit two existing annual reporting forms (Hull Husbandry Reporting Form and the Ballast Water Treatment Technology Annual Reporting Form), and combines them into a new annual reporting form “Marine Invasive Species Program Annual Vessel Reporting Form.”

California’s biofouling regulations require ocean-going vessels entering the ports of California to have minimum biofouling on the underwater portion of their hulls and niche areas. Ships whose records show that the coating on their hull is still within the specified lifetime will be presumed to be in compliance. A ship whose coating is beyond its recommended life span, or one that is not using an antifouling coating at all, will be inspected and must not exceed 5 percent biofouling on the hull and not more than 15 percent in niche areas; however, several niche areas are exempted for safety reasons.

According to the commission’s Initial Statement of Reasons, the proposed regulations are intended to “encourage the use of best management practices, including the appropriate use of anti-fouling or foul-release coatings (i.e. using coatings aged within their effective coating lifespan).” ACA supports this goal and encourages the use of efficacious antifouling coatings.

ACA, which is both a member and Secretariat for the International Paint and Printing Ink Council (IPPIC), also offered the commission use of an IPPIC-developed template for the completion of a biofouling management plan. IPPIC worked with IMarEST (The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology) to develop the template, which can be used as a tool for the implementation of the International Maritime Organization’s 2011 “Guidelines for the Control and Management of Ships’ Biofouling to Minimize the Transfer of Invasive Aquatic Species.” This template was recently submitted by IPPIC and IMarEST (a major maritime NGO) to the International Maritime Organization at the 70th Session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee that met in London in October 2016.

ACA believes this template meets the California commission’s objectives, and urged the commission to consider accepting the IPPIC template in lieu of the proposed SLC form. ACA underscored that given that vessels can operate in a wide variety of regulatory environments, allowing operators to use a consensus document such as the IPPIC document could be a sensible alternative to the proposed form.

Contact ACA’s Allen Irish for more information.