Port baseline surveys (PBS) provide species inventories in and around ports, with a focus on non-indigenous species that may have been introduced by vessels, primarily via ballast water. PBS are an essential tool to support effective management strategies for non-indigenous as well as native harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens (HAOP). This paper describes the methodology of PBS that were conducted in 12 Adriatic ports. The PBS employed existing protocols that were adapted to meet the characteristics of the Adriatic sites. Their results are reported in several papers included in this special issue, each of which is devoted to a specific community. An overview of existing surveys protocols – which provide valuable support to decision-making and to design effective monitoring of non-indigenous species – is also supplied.