Cyprus Mail

Increase in invasive species


A workshop on which invasive species Cyprus will have to deal with in the next 10 years is being held from Wednesday to Friday at the Environmental Education Centre in Akrotiri, in the British bases.

Attended by foreign scientists and experts from Greece, Israel, Belgium, Italy and the UK, its aim is to record the existing invasive species and to identify the ones which may be found in the future so that ways to respond early on to a possible threat to biodiversity, the ecosystem and human health can be developed.

Already the widening of the Suez Canal has brought the lagocephalus, also known as silver-cheeked toadfish, which is an extremely poisonous type of pufferfish, and the lionfish, another venomous marine fish, to Cyprus, coordinator of the event Kelly Martinou said.

Recently, Plotosus lineatus, commonly called striped eel catfish, has made its appearance in Israel and Turkey after travelling from the Indian and Pacific Oceans through the canal. It is known for its extremely venomous spine.

Approximately a thousand foreign fish species have invaded the Mediterranean in recent years, and a new one arrives every 10 days, according to Research Director of the Hellenic Marine Research Centre Argyro Zenetou.

One species which has not yet arrived in Cyprus is the deadly ‘tiger mosquito,’ Martinou said, but the British bases and the relevant government services are aware of the measures needed to prevent a spread if it does.

This mosquito, originally from Southeast Asia, has lately found its way into many countries through the transport of goods and international travel.

The workshop is co-organised by the Joint Services Health Unit, the British Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, the Darwin Initiative and the University of Cyprus.

As part of it an open event with the title ‘What’s on your doorstep? “Come and join us to find out’ will take place on Thursday at the Environmental Education Centre in Akrotiri from 5.30pm to 6.30pm.

For more info contact Kelly Martinou by email at [email protected]

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