University of Washington Tacoma

Access*: Interdisciplinary Journal of Student Research and Scholarship

Author Biography

Tracie S. Barry received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Washington, Tacoma. Her research focuses on phytoplankton, our ocean’s primary producers, with a special interest in harmful species, and their fisheries related impacts.She is particularly interested in ensuring scientific collaboration with fisheries stakeholders and coastal communities. Tracie loves boats of all shapes and sizes, and can usually be found on the water.

Document Type

Undergraduate Research Paper


This article critically assesses the history of ballast water as a vector for invasive species, management, current regulations and technological advancements in water treatment. The transport of invasive species is a global threat to ecosystems as well as economies. Ballast water, used to stabilize ships has been implicated in the spread of invasive species, including zebra mussels and harmful algal species. In 2017, the International Convention for the Control of and Management of Ship’s Ballast water and Sediments, in an effort to mitigate the spread of invasive species was entered into force. However, at the same time legislation was presented in the United States which would decrease ballast water regulation. The Clean Water Act exemption for ballast water discharge, as well as the multitude of regulatory bodies responsible for ballast water management, is counterproductive to combating the spread of invasive species. The author concludes that without a no viable organism policy will fail to halt the spread of ballast water transported invasive species. The US should adopt a robust ballast water management strategy as well as take on a leadership role in an effort to mitigate ballast water related threats to native species and global economies.


University of Washington Tacoma


TLAW 438: Environmental Law


Theda Braddock