Ballast water is the ocean’s water used by ships for stability while they are at sea and it’s stored in special compartments. This water is picked up in one body of water and is disposed in another, depending on the need to stabilize and balance the ship. These bodies of water can be very distant and range from bays, estuaries, lakes and open sea.
With ballast water come the species that live in those waters; about 7,000 species including fish, algae, mollusks, virus and bacteria.
When the ballast water is discarded, these species can establish in their new “territories”, turning into invading species that affect the ecosystem and the native species of the place.
The San Juan Bay is the second most important port on the East Coast of the United States due to its high marine transport traffic. For this reason, it is suspected that many invading species get here through ballast water. However, in Puerto Rico, the presence of only two exotic marine species has been documented: the White spotted jellyfish (Phyllorhiza punctata) and the red lion fish (Pterois volitans).