General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean - GFCM

Invasive species are changing the nature of the Mediterranean Sea


The Mediterranean Sea is being invaded by hundreds of fish, jellyfish, prawns and other marine species from outside the region.

More than 1 000 non-indigenous species have been identified in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Over half have established permanent populations and are spreading, causing concern about the threat they pose to marine ecosystems and local fishing communities.

“Climate change and human activities have had a profound impact on the Mediterranean and the Black Sea,” says Stefano Lelli, a fishery expert for the eastern Mediterranean working for the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM).

Fishers all over the region have been affected by this trend. However, with the support of the GFCM, they are finding new ways to turn these invasions into opportunities.

To safeguard native species the GFCM supports the creation of fisheries restricted areas. Well conserved areas have proven to be more resilient to the impact of non-indigenous species.

“International and regional cooperation as well as concerted action are needed to tackle non-indigenous species in the Mediterranean and Black Sea,” says Bayram Öztürk, author of the GFCM's study on non-indigenous species in the Mediterranean.

Read the beautiful FAO story on Turning a worrisome trend into an opportunity to conserve marine ecosystems and protect livelihoods