The 43rd meeting of the ICES Working Group on Introductions and Transfers of Marine Organisms (WGITMO) was held at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administra-tion (NOAA) Northeast Fisheries Sciences Center in Woods Hole, USA, on 13–15 March 2017. This meeting included a joint day with the Working Group on Ballast Water and Other Ship Vectors (WGBOSV). The meeting was hosted by Judy Pederson (USA) and chaired by Cynthia McKenzie (Canada). The meeting was attended by 23 scientists in person, two by web-conference and five by correspondence, representing 16 countries; four additional scientists attended on the joint meeting day. The objective of the meeting was to communicate new information and discuss several aspects of the introductions and transfers of marine organisms relevant to the six terms of reference for the working group. There was a particular focus on introductions into the Arctic environment, bio-fouling of vessels and structures, and developing indicators to evaluate impact of non-indigenous species in marine environments.
This year’s interim report provides: a summary of the 16 National Reports (reports at-tached in Annex 4); the 20 presentations provided by members and chair invited mem-bers in support of term of reference objectives (abstracts provided in Annex 5); discussions, achievements, limitations and a recommendation. All Terms of Reference were discussed with this report structured so that each Term of Reference is dealt with in sequential order. The National Reports provide an overview of the priorities, findings, meetings and publications for each country. In addition, it provides discussion points for methodologies, collaborations and knowledge gaps that need to be addressed by the group (ToR a). The AquaNIS database continues to be updated and the data is now georeferenced. There were three additional presentations under this term of reference addressing monitoring methodology and an invasion risk assessment tool.
WGITMO considered two ToRs jointly with WGBOSV: examining the effect of climate change on the establishment of aquatic species in the Arctic (ToR b); and examining bio-fouling as vector for the introduction and transfer of aquatic organisms on vessels and structures (ToR c). An update was provided on an ongoing initiative to address De-scriptor 2 of the EU-MSFD, in particular Indicator 2.2.1 regarding impact of Invasive Al-ien Species (IAS) on marine environments (ToR d). The final goal is to develop a new indicator of impact that can be proposed for the implementation within the Marine Strat-egy Framework Directive. Two ICES Cooperative Research Reports developed by WGITMO were recently released. One was an alien species alert report on the invasive tunicate Didemnum vexillum and the other summarized the status of non-indigenous ma-rine species in the North Atlantic and adjacent waters 2003–2007 (ToR a). An update was provided on communications regarding the Suez Canal enlargement and bioinvasion problems in the Mediterranean Sea.
A theme session for the 2017 ICES ASC on bioinvasion trajectories and impacts in con-trasting marine environments was proposed by WGITMO as collaboration between IC-ES-PICES-CIESM. The proposal was accepted and will be jointly chaired by representatives of the three groups.