16 New Species of Fish Appear in Adriatic Over Last 7 Years

Lauren Simmonds

Some new aquatic residents have moved into Croatian waters over the past sixteen years.

As Morski writes on the 31st of January, 2018, the effects of climate change in the Adriatic sea are becoming more and more apparent.

The impact of climate change on the entry of new species of fish in the Adriatic is visible in the varying catches of fishermen all along the Croatian coast over the past few years. In the last seven years alone, 16 new species of fish have appeared in Croatian waters, some of which aren’t particularly welcome new residents.

Pagrus major, a red seabream, is one example, prized in Japan, this species originates from the northwestern Pacific where it naturally lives and breeds. Fortunately, this fish has not been able to breed or establish a population, and therefore poses no particular threat to the natural ecosystem in the Adriatic.

As Portal Oko writes, as many as 14 of the 16 newly recorded species have ”migrated” from afar, meaning that they have reached the Mediterranean Sea through the Red Sea, and the cornetfish (Fistularia commersonii), the dusky spinefoot (Siganus luridus) and the Lagocephalus sceleratus, seem to have established populations in the southern Adriatic.

Among them, the dusky spinefoot is one fish that stands out in particular, it is a prominent predator of important species which happen to be native to the Adriatic, so its presence may have possible negative effects on the local populations of these fish.

To make matters all the more concerning, Lagocephalus sceleratus has a high propagation rate and negatively affects fishing in the Mediterranean Sea, often becoming caught in nets. This species is highly poisonous, contains tetraodotoxin, and carries poison a massive 1250 times stronger than cyanide. This armed and dangerous fish is definitely not something you want to come into contact with, let alone eat.

Among the 16 new species which have made the Adriatic home over the last several years, despite the fortunate difficulties some of the fish are having in successfully breeding and establishing a population, some, like the dusky spinefoot, are highly predatory and therefore pose a potentially serious threat to native species and the fishing industry who rely on certain species as a whole.


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