Lion­fish recorded in Tu­nisian wa­ters, fur­ther con­firm­ing its pres­ence in the Cen­tral Mediter­ranean

Malta Independent - - LIFESTYLE & CULTURE -

Alarm bells have been rung in Si­cily and Tu­nisia as the Lion­fish, which had al­ready been re­ported in Mal­tese wa­ters in July this year by the Con­ser­va­tion Bi­ol­ogy Re­search Group of the Univer­sity of Malta, was also re­ported in Tu­nisian wa­ters in sum­mer 2015.

This fur­ther con­firms that the alien Lion­fish did man­age to travel from Cyprus in 2014 and 2015, to the Cen­tral Mediter­ranean soon af­ter­wards.

The lo­cal re­search group, led by Dr Adri­ana Vella has been ac­tive in ac­cu­rately iden­ti­fy­ing alien and lo­cal species mor­pho­log­i­cally and ge­net­i­cally too. Through this de­tailed re­search it is pos­si­ble to un­der­stand how the in­creas­ing abun­dance of alien species may im­pact on lo­cal reef fish species and fish­eries.

As the re­search group has also worked with most lo­cal ar­ti­sanal and recre­ational fish­er­men, the re­searchers are mak­ing avail­able their ex­per­tise to fish­er­men pro­vid­ing rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion on each of the strange ma­rine or­gan­isms caught. This is a very use­ful col­lab­o­ra­tion that al­lows for fish­er­men to un­der­stand bet­ter this chang­ing sea, while re­searchers con­trib­ute to new knowl­edge to as­sist fish­er­men deal with these changes.

Also as in­di­cated by the no­tice to mariners is­sued by the Trans­port Malta, any­one sight­ing or coming into con­tact with alien species should con­tact Dr Adri­ana Vella as part of this use­ful on­go­ing long-term re­search work.

Dr Vella can be con­tacted on: adri­ana.vella@um.edu.mt

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