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Stop the Spread!

There are many living things in the world. These creatures live in different geographies with different species. However, in some cases, these species can become invasive in various places. Invasive species are plants, animals, and organisms that settle in their natural habitat, spread, and cause ecological and economic damage. Today, they are transported very quickly by human maritime trade and transportation. There are approximately 500 marine alien species inflows detected in Turkey's seas so far. All living things, from the largest to the smallest, fish, mussels, seaweeds, and microscopic pathogens can be invaders.

The most important methods in combating marine invasive species are; prevention, early detection, and intervention before they settle and spread; In the past, invasive species moved to new habitats by utilizing natural processes like storms and ocean currents. Now, it moves around by human maritime trade and transportation quite swiftly. It is primarily transported in the ballast water in ships, adhering to the hulls of yachts and boats. 7.000 species are known to be carried daily acts around the world in ship ballast waters. One new species enters the ocean in this way every nine weeks.

Human activities, done consciously or unknowingly, cause marine invasive alien species to invade areas where they do not belong. So far, Turkey's oceans host the import of 500 sea creatures. Every four weeks, about one new marine alien species makes its way into Turkish waters. The Suez Canal has been used to transport two-thirds of the species discovered so far from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean, with the remaining third occurring in the ship hulls and ballast waters.

Following their arrival, marine invasive alien species are moved across short distances in inland waters by a variety of activities. Most frequently, these movements involve clinging to fishing and leisure boats, ships, buoys, fishing and diving gear, fish farming, aquarium escapes, and live fish food.

The most dangerous invaders

Scalloped skateboard (damages local food chains, decreases fish stocks, affects fishing and tourism activities)

Sea snails (damages the local food web, mussels and oysters, reduce fish stocks )

Killer algae (threats seagrass meadows, destroys the seafloor,affects diving tourism negatively)

Water hyacinth (Water hyacinth wastes from the Orontes River prevent endangered green sea turtle hatchlings from reaching the sea by attaching to these plant wastes after hatching)

2 Blowfish (mollusks such as squid, octopus decrease, affect fishing activities, harm human health)

Stuck fish (poisonous, has economic value), Lionfish (causes poisoning in humans)

Venomous invertebrates (sea urchin, sea centipede, jellyfish)

Why is it important to combat marine invasive species?

Environmental; it ensures the protection of marine ecosystems and biodiversity.

Social; it ensures the preservation of the livelihoods that support human health and well-being and the social and cultural benefits of marine ecosystems to humans.

Economic; it prevents higher costs and financial losses caused by invasive species.

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