Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Is recreational boating a potential vector for non-indigenous peracarid crustaceans in the Mediterranean Sea? A combined biological and social approach.

Abstract

Shipping is understood to be a major vector for the introduction and spread of marine non-indigenous species (NIS). However, recreational boating is still unregulated and its influence as vector has not yet been assessed for the Mediterranean Sea, which is the second most popular recreational boating destination worldwide. This is the first large-scale study to examine this by a combined biological (analyzing hull and marina fouling) and social approach (boaters surveys on maintenance habits, travel patterns and awareness), focused on peracarid crustaceans. A surprisingly high number of NIS were found on vessels cruising Mediterranean waters, and species compositions suggest an exchange between marina and vessel assemblages. This means recreational boating presents a risk for NIS spread which should warrant regulation. Results also implied that regionally coordinated management should be supported by effective local-scale-based management in the Mediterranean, which could improve upon with targeted environmental education to solve lack of awareness.