Marine pests are plants or animals that are not native to Australia and have the potential to cause significant impact on our marine industries, environment and well-being. Marine pests have been introduced to Australia and moved around by a variety of human and natural means.

The introduction of non-native species can seriously effect native species if the introduced animal is able to prey on or out-compete the natives for food or other resources. For more information on marine pests, see the Department of Agriculture website.

Biofouling presents not just an environmental but also a capability issue for ships. Fouling on a ship’s hull can result in increased drag, reducing the ship’s top speed and fuel efficiency. Fouling inside internal cooling systems can seriously affect the performance of air conditioning and other systems.

As a risk management measure, the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has adopted procedures to check the hulls of all ships before departure and on return from overseas deployments.

The RAN participates in Government forums on marine pests and liaises closely with Commonwealth and State/Territory authorities when necessary to control the risk of introducing or spreading marine pests.

RAN maintenance policies aim to ensure that hull antifouling coatings are kept in good condition to minimise hull-fouling growth. The RAN is following international moves to manage the environmental impacts of antifouling paints, and met the 2008 deadline to eliminate use of tributyltin oxide (TBT) anti-fouling paints.