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Publications archive - Coasts and Oceans

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Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Evaluation of the safety of new anti-fouling agents for use in Australian temperate waters

Final Report for the Department of the Environment and Heritage
S Duda, JH Myers and S Hoffman
Victorian Department of Natural Resources and Environment, 2003


Executive Summary

In recent years the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has promoted the introduction of a global ban on tributyltin (TBT) a highly toxic biocide used widely for over 30 years in the shipping industry to prevent fouling of ship's hulls. Australia's Ocean Policy recognises the detrimental environmental effects of TBT but at the same time identifies the role that ship hull fouling plays in the global transport of introduced marine pests.

Presently, Australian authorities rely heavily on data obtained from overseas species to determine risks associated with exposure to antifouling biocides in aquatic environments. This is not always be appropriate as Australia has its own unique and diverse ecosystems which may respond differently. There is a lack of information currently available for antifouling biocide toxicity data directly relevant to the Australian environment. In order to effectively protect and conserve Australia's marine area, there is a great need to evaluate the safety of antifouling alternatives to TBT using local Australian temperate species.

This study looked at the toxicity of several alternatives to TBT antifouling biocides, including Seanine 211, zineb, zinc pyrithione and diuron, to a range of Australian biota.

Tributyltin-oxide was significantly the most toxic biocide to H. banksii at all endpoints examined. Seanine 211, zineb and zinc pyrithione expressed similar toxicity at several endpoints, but were always significantly different in toxicity to that of tributyltin-oxide. Diuron was significantly the least toxic of all biocidal agents assayed.