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Words in the News
 
Monday 09 February 2004
 
Transporting Sea Creatures
 
Jellyfish New rules to prevent the transport of sea creatures around the world in the hulls of ships are being drawn up at a special conference starting in London. The International Maritime Organisation is negotiating a new convention aimed at reducing major environmental damage caused by the introduction of alien species. This report from Tim Hirsch:
 
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It is estimated that three thousand different species are dumped every day into ports thousands of miles from their habitats carried in ballast tanks filled with seawater to provide stability to unladen ships.

Many creatures transported this way have devastated local wildlife. Anchovy fishing in the Black Sea has collapsed due partly to the arrival of an American jellyfish and the Chinese mitten crab is multiplying rapidly in the River Thames and other English rivers causing serious erosion with the burrows they dig in the banks.

The International Maritime Organisation will attempt to agree new binding rules this week forcing shipping companies to reduce this contamination which can cause far more lasting damage to wildlife than pollution from oil spills.

Tim Hirsch, BBC
 
 
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species
 
a class of plants or animals with the same characteristics
 
dumped
 
if you dump waste you put it somewhere carelessly
 
ballast
 
something which is used to make ships heavier and so more stable
 
unladen
 
if a ship is unladen it is not carrying cargo
 
have devastated local wildlife
 
have badly damaged birds and animals that live in the area
 
collapsed
 
suddenly failed
 
erosion
 
erosion happens when earth is removed from the banks
 
binding rules
 
instructions telling you what to do or not do which must be carried out
 
contamination
 
pollution
 
damage
 
harm caused to something
 
 
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