Tuesday, December 20, 2005

What the Hull?

Interesting article in the Oregonian about a pathway for invasive species that most people probably haven't given much thought to: ship salvaging operations. A fleet of National Defense Reserve ships, currently located in San Francisco Bay, has been ordered to be scrapped by the end of 2006. A company wants to set up a scrap-and-salvage operation in Oregon's Yaquina Bay, but there is concern that the hulls of these old ships are fouled (in some cases with growths as much as 4 inches thick) and could be a vector for invasive marine species. Scientists want to do sampling before the ships are moved from San Francisco, but companies are balking at the cost of such testing.

San Francisco Bay has been well-studied by invasion biologists, and is thought to be one of the most invaded ecosystems in the world. Andrew Cohen, director of biological invasions for the San Francisco Estuary Institute, sums it up well at the end of the article: "If I were a citizen up there [Oregon], I would absolutely want to know what is on the hulls of those ships and what is in the bilges."

Minus 10 points to Oregon Live for forcing users to input their zip code and then covering the page with a floating ad!

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