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Who is making aquatic introductions?
Who is making aquatic introductions?
Courtesy of FAO/DIAS

Background

The FAO database on Introductions of aquatic species was initiated by R. Welcomme in the early 1980s. It considered primarily only freshwater species of fish and formed the basis for the 1988 FAO Fisheries Technical Paper no. 294. The database has been expanded to include additional taxa, such as molluscs and crustaceans and marine species.

In the 1990s a questionnaire was sent to national experts to gather additional information on introductions and transfers of aquatic species in their countries. The database includes records of species introduced or transferred from one country to another and does not consider movements of species inside the same country

DIAS can provide a registry of where aquatic species have been introduced and some summary statistics, as seen in the accompanying figures. Some example maps demonstrate the extent of introductions.

Reasons for introductions of aquatic species, as a percentage of DIAS records
Reasons for introductions of aquatic species, as a percentage of DIAS records
Courtesy of FAO/DIAS

Contribution of introduced species

Introduced species have significantly contributed to aquaculture production, as they have in terrestrial-based agriculture. Aquaculture is the main reason for introduction in 38.7% of the database records. Charts show the contribution of introduced species to total aquaculture production by group of animal species and by continent. In Asia, where there are many important cultivated species native of the continent, the contribution of introduced species is a small part of overall production but still represents substantial production. In the other continents, the introduced species form a very important part of aquaculture production: 97.1% of crustacean production in Europe, 96,2% of fish production in South America and 84.7% in Oceania. Globally, 9.7% of aquaculture production comes from introduced species.

 
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