Biofouling increases drag on marine vessels resulting in higher fuel consumption and can also facilitate the transport of harmful non-indigenous species (NIS). Antifouling technologies incorporating biocides (e.g., copper and tributyltin) have been developed to prevent settlement of organisms on vessels, but their widespread use has introduced high levels of contamination into the environment and raised concerns about their toxic effects on marine communities. The recent global ban on tributyltin (1 January 2008) and increasing regulation of copper have prompted research and development of non-toxic paints. This review synthesises existing information regarding the ecological impact of biocides in a wide range of organisms and highlights directions for the management of antifouling paints. We focus particularly on representatives of the recent past (copper and tributyltin) and present (copper and ‘booster’) biocides. We identify knowledge gaps in antifouling research and provide recommendations relating to the regulation and phasing-out of copper.
- ecological impacts