Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Identifying economic costs and knowledge gaps of invasive aquatic crustaceans.

Abstract

Despite voluminous literature identifying the impacts of invasive species, summaries of monetary costs for some taxonomic groups remain limited. Invasive alien crustaceans often have profound impacts on recipient ecosystems, but there may be great unknowns related to their economic costs. Using the InvaCost database, the researchers quantify and analyse reported costs associated with invasive crustaceans globally across taxonomic, spatial, and temporal descriptors. Specifically, the researchers quantify the costs of prominent aquatic crustaceans - crayfish, crabs, amphipods, and lobsters. Between 2000 and 2020, crayfish caused US$ 120.5 million in reported costs; the vast majority (99%) being attributed to representatives of Astacidae and Cambaridae. Crayfish-related costs were unevenly distributed across countries, with a strong bias towards European economies (US$ 116.4 million; mainly due to the signal crayfish in Sweden), followed by costs reported from North America and Asia. The costs were also largely predicted or extrapolated, and thus not based on empirical observations. Despite these limitations, the costs of invasive crayfish have increased considerably over the past two decades, averaging US$ 5.7 million per year. Invasive crabs have caused costs of US$ 150.2 million since 1960 and the ratios were again uneven (57% in North America and 42% in Europe). Damage-related costs dominated for both crayfish (80%) and crabs (99%), with management costs lacking or even more under-reported. Reported costs for invasive amphipods (US$ 178.8 thousand) and lobsters (US$ 44.6 thousand) were considerably lower, suggesting a lack of effort in reporting costs for these groups or effects that are largely non-monetised. Despite the well-known damage caused by invasive crustaceans, the researchers identify data limitations that prevent a full accounting of the economic costs of these invasive groups, while highlighting the increasing costs at several scales based on the available literature. Further cost reports are needed to better assess the true magnitude of monetary costs caused by invasive aquatic crustaceans.