Toxicological risks on the human health of populations living around the Mediterranean Sea linked to the invasion of non-indigenous marine species from the Red Sea: a review.
The Mediterranean region is, by far, a prime travel destination, having hosted more than 330 million tourists in 2016, mostly for seaside holidays. A greatly increased influx of thermophilic Red Sea species, introduced through the Suez Canal in a process referred to as Lessepsian invasion (in honor of Ferdinand de Lesseps who instigated the building of the Suez Canal), have raised awareness among scientists, medical personnel, and the public, of health risks caused by some venomous and poisonous marine species. The main species of concern are the poisonous Lagocephalus sceleratus, and the venomous Plotosus lineatus, Siganus luridus, Siganus rivulatus, Pterois miles, Synancea verrucosa, Rhopilema nomadica, Macrorhynchia philippina and Diadema setosum. Recognizing that the main factors that drive the introduction and dispersal of Red Sea biota in the Mediterranean, i.e., Suez Canal enlargements and warming seawater, are set to increase, and international tourist arrivals are forecasted to increase as well, to 500 million in 2030, an increase in intoxications and envenomations by alien marine species is to be expected and prepared for.