Forging sustainability

ECOBOAT - Ecological risk assessment on the use of boat antifouling paints with organometallic and metallic biocides at the Portuguese coast
Coordinator - Carlos Miguez
Programme - POCI/MAR/61893/2004, Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
Execution dates - 2005-09-01 - 2008-08-30 (36 Months)
Funding Entity - FCT
Total Funding - 71398 €
Proponent Institution - Universidade de Aveiro

The extensive use of the organotin compounds tributyltin (TBT) and triphenyltin (TPT) in ship/boat antifouling paints has created a serious global pollution problem. Consequently, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has banned the application of organotin paints in all kind of ships after 1 January 2003 and will forbid its usage by 2008. As a result TBT and TPT are now being replaced by other biocides, with relevance to copper oxide, copper thiocyanate, zinc oxide, zinc naphthenate and zinc pyrithione. The overall goal of this project is to assess the ecological risk posed by the increase environmental concentration of copper and zinc in the Portuguese coast, and compare it with the risks posed by the organotins.
The risk assessment will consider both the (i) exposure potential of the organisms to TBT, TPT, copper and zinc in the Portuguese coast and the (ii) effects potential of the above organometals and metals to biota in order to assess the potential to cause adverse impacts in the Portuguese coast. In order to characterise the exposure potential it will be assessed the actual extent of contamination of water, sediments and biota by TBT (and its degraded forms), TPT (and its degraded forms), copper and zinc in 44 sampling stations spread along the whole west Portuguese coast (see attached map). The sampling strategy aims to describe gradients of contamination around likely point sources - ports, marinas and shypyards - generally located inside estuaries, towards the open coast. Previously sampled places are also included for comparisons with reported data for TBT and TPT regarding temporal trend monitoring and assessment of the effectiveness of the IMO ban. The assessment of the potential biological effects will be performed through laboratory toxicological bioassays focusing relevant new (never described before) endpoints related to survival, growth and fecundity of given representative marine/estuarine species of the Portuguese coast (salt marsh plants, molluscs, crustaceans and fish); this will be complemented with literature information regarding the same effects on many other species from all taxa. The above information will be analysed in order to perform (i) a comparative assessment of the ecological impacts associated to the use of organotin and organotin-free antifouling paints in the Portuguese coast, expressed in terms comprehensible to decision makers and the public, (ii) the identification of the biocides that pose the greatest ecotoxicological hazard at specific sites, (iii) the background levels of the contaminants (indicating concentrations not attributable to the site), (iv) the development of methodologies for future monitoring the marine antifouling pollution in the Portuguese coast.
Congress presentations, scientific publications and annual reports will outline the results obtained in the project. At the end a comprehensive report and an interactive website and DVD will detail the main results and conclusions. Seminars showing main conclusions will be presented at the University and schools at Aveiro.

Members on this project
Carlos Miguez
Helena Silva
Sónia Mendo

CESAM Funding: