Transmission by travelers and commercial shipments

Historically, invasive species have been very successful in migrating between continents after human travel and migration increased. Hitchhiking species cling to travel lers' luggage, mud on shoes, and probably even the tires of airplanes. Recirculating air in airplanes transfers germs from one passenger to another on transcontinental flights, after which the travelers themselves deliver the novel diseases to new continents. Invasive species passively cling to transport vessels. Cargo and other ships carry organisms in ship ballast and transport exotic pests; Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) cling to the outsides of ships, and have been transported since 1988 throughout the Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada. Antarctic now has at least 207 alien species, and these invasive mostly originate from ballast discharge.

With the current level of international travel, new introductions of invasive species are inevitable. However, international agreements attempt to address the problems associated with the international transport of organisms. The Global Ballast Water Convention is an international agreement passed in 2004, which will eventually require ships to comply with discharge limits, and establishes inspection and enforcement procedures.

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