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Invasive species can be spread in many ways, both intentionally and unintentionally. Once established in a given environment, they can compete with native species for food and habitat and can significantly impact ecosystems by altering food webs, reducing biodiversity, and changing water quality. Researchers have estimated that economic damages associated with invasive species and measures to control them exceed $100 billion per year.
In particular, aquatic invasive species are often moved unintentionally, "hitchhiking" on vessels as they move across the sea or other waters; on floatplanes, boats, and trailers as they are moved between waters; and on equipment (bait buckets, waders, scuba tanks, anchors, etc.) used in recreational activities. Though boaters themselves are not always aware of the organisms their boats may be harboring, trailerable recreational boats are a primary vector of concern in addressing the threat of aquatic invasive species.
Download the report from the National Sea Grant Law Center.