Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


Marine Affairs

First Advisor

Richard Burroughs


Globalization and the increased movement of commercial goods on the seas have contributed to an accelerated spread of aquatic invasive species and harmful human pathogens. The control and management of these organisms are complex and challenging due to the lack of physical barriers in aquatic environments. Ballast water has been noted as a major vector for introducing aquatic invasive species and one of the greatest manmade threats on the marine environment. This research aims to assess the regional governance mechanisms New England states could implement to mitigate aquatic invasive species introduction from ballast water and abate the regional spread of these organisms.

The strategies presented for regional collaboration are (1) validating collaboration through legislation, such as interstate compacts or an Act by Congress, (2) the creation of a working group, and (3) voluntary cooperation driven by stakeholders to create shared processes and tools. These mechanisms are representative of top-down and bottom-up policy approaches. A comparative policy analysis was used to evaluate the existing regional mechanisms occurring in the Great Lakes and Pacific Coast. The Great Lakes provides an example of how interagency collaboration can result in an enhanced regulatory enforcement regime. The Pacific Coast demonstrates how stakeholder-driven collaboration can enhance management, data, and coordination related to ballast water management and aquatic invasive species mitigation. Both the Great Lakes and Pacific Coast present a framework that New England could apply to navigate the numerous regulatory agencies in the region to streamline their efforts and enhance cohesion.

Although this analysis is specific to applying a regional ballast water management and inspections program in New England, the issues explored are relevant for other regions of the United States, which may not already have a collaborative framework in place. With the United States being on the precipice of implementing new ballast water regulations, states may consider restructuring their ballast water management programs. Results here suggest that regional management is one option that should be considered in New England.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Available for download on Thursday, May 08, 2025