Ceballos-Osuna, Lina, Scianni, Chris, Falkner, Maurya, Nedelcheva, Raya, and Miller, Whitman. 2021. "Proxy-based model to assess the relative contribution of ballast water and biofouling's potential propagule pressure and prioritize vessel inspections." Plos One 16 (7):https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0247538
Commercial shipping is the primary pathway of introduction for aquatic nonindigenous species (NIS), mainly through the mechanisms of ballast water and biofouling. In response to this threat, regulatory programs have been established across the globe to regulate and monitor commercial merchant and passenger vessels to assess compliance with local requirements to reduce the likelihood of NIS introductions. Resource limitations often determine the inspection efforts applied by these regulatory agencies to reduce NIS introductions. We present a simple and adaptable model that prioritizes vessel arrivals for inspection using proxies for potential propagule pressure (PPP), namely a ships' wetted surface area as a proxy for the likelihood of biofouling-mediated PPP and ballast water discharge volume as a proxy for ballast water-mediated PPP. We used a California-specific dataset of vessels that arrived at California ports between 2015 and 2018 to test the proposed model and demonstrate how a finite set of inspection resources can be applied to target vessels with the greatest PPP. The proposed tool is adaptable by jurisdiction, scalable to different segments of the vessel population, adjustable based on the vector of interest, and versatile because it allows combined or separate analyses of the PPP components. The approach can be adopted in any jurisdiction across the globe, especially jurisdictions without access to, or authority to collect, risk profiling data or direct measurements for all incoming vessel arrivals.