Alien fauna invasion in the Mediterranean

 Alien fauna invasion in the Mediterranean

Sometimes we feel like climate change is something far away from us.


Yes, some Pacific islands are disappearing, but they are in the Pacific! Yes, Indonesia faces terrible hurricanes continuously, but still, in the Pacific! And we seem to struggle to relate to climate change natural disasters which happen close to us. But the Mediterranean Sea is facing the consequences of climate change as well.

We have attended a panel focusing on the condition of the Mediterranean fauna. The Mediterranean Sea, the biggest closed sea in the world, also has the richest marine fauna in considering its relatively small size. This is although put in danger by the arrival of new species which are now finding their perfect habitat in an always warmer Mediterranean.
Species such as venomous jelly fishes, balloon fishes and lion fishes, which came from the Indian Ocean to our sea through the Suez Canal, man-made at the end of the XIX, and although at first they found an hostile environment, can now call Mare Nostrum home.

And this is causing quite some problems. The balloon fish endangers all the fishing economy, destroying the nets when feeling trapped. The lion fish endangers instead the human life by the sea, having social consequences. It is in fact extremely poisonous at touch, and it can even cause death. Furthermore, it can reproduce about four times faster than the average Mediterranean fish.

In Turkey, measures are then been promoted in order to adapt to this new invasion. First of all, doctors have been trained in order to proper care who gets in contact with the lion fish. But although this fish is extremely poisonous at the touch, it is not when eaten. Cooking classes are then been organized in order to teach the population how to cook and eat this new fish.

This is a great example on how, when considering adaptation, several points of view have to be considered, and it is fundamental that the population is an active actor in this process.

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