Copper Biocides in the Marine Environment

  • Steven J. Brooks
  • Mike Waldock

Due to the restrictions on TBT usage in antifouling paints since 2003 and its complete ban on all vessels in 2008 (IMO 2001), copper has been increasingly used as the main biocide ingredient in antifouling paint coatings. Copper is toxic to a wide range of aquatic organisms, which makes it an ideal biocide, preventing the colonisation of biofouling organisms on the vessel surface. There has been much concern from regulators and scientists that copper concentrations may become elevated in areas of high boating density such as marinas and estuaries with potential damaging effects on the animal and plant communities. In certain European countries, copper has been banned from use on recreational vessels, although so far this is restricted to inland freshwaters, many countries are beginning to re-evaluate current copper risk assessments in marine coastal waters.

This chapter provides an outline of the concentrations of copper in the marine coastal environment as a result of its use as an antifouling biocide. The potential risk of copper to marine life has been evaluated with respect to copper bioavail ability, speciation and toxicity. The chapter outlines some of the shortfalls of current copper risk assessment and provides some suggestions for improvement.


Suspended Particulate Matter Copper Concentration International Maritime Organisation Antifouling Paint Copper Toxicity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven J. Brooks
    • 1
  • Mike Waldock
    • 2
  1. 1.Norwegian Institute of Water Research (NIVA)Norway
  2. 2.Cefas Weymouth Laboratory, Fish Diseases LaboratoryWeymouthUK

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