The first step has been taken for combating invasive alien species that have introduced to the Seas of Turkey in various pathways and are expected to cause a major impact on the ecosystem. (UNDP Turkey news)
Danger in our Seas
Turkey has a rich diversity due to being surrounded by four seas of different characteristics. As a result of anthropogenic activities, species, which have been introduced from their natural area to distant areas, are called alien species. On the other hand, the species that harmecosystem, biodiversity, human health and economy by its rapid spread and invasion in the area are called invasive alien species.
While the number of established alien species that are located in the Mediterranean Sea exceeds 800, the number of established alien species located in the Seas of Turkey is almost 500. While 74% of the alien species in the Mediterranean Sea are introduced to the area via the Suez Canal, 80% of the alien species in the Black Sea, are introduced to the area via ships’ ballast water. Some alien species were introduced to the coast of Turkey by aquarium activities.
“Marine ecosystems are of major importance.”
Together with financial support from the Global Environmental Finance (GEF) and the coordination of the General Directorate for Nature Conservation and National Parks of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the United Nations Development Programme has been launched a new project to combat with invasive species in the Seas of Turkey. The opening meeting for the “Utilizing Invasive Alien Species’ Threats at Key Marine Biodiversity Areas” project was held in Ankara on the 22nd of November 2018.
UNDP Deputy Country Director Sukhrob Khojimatov stated that marine ecosystems are of major importance in terms of climate change, fresh water cycle and biodiversity.
“This project will implement the development of legal and institutional infrastructure, capacity enhancement and raising the awareness of public as well as marine restoration and battling invasive alien species all together.”
As the only marine project of the GEF VI period in the world, the project will continue being implemented in the pilot areas of Igneada Floodplain Forests National Park (Nautical) (Black Sea), Ayvalık Islands Nature Park (Aegean Sea), Marmara Islands (Marmara Sea) and Hatay-Samandag Seal Living Space as well as the Sea Turtle Nesting and Egg Laying area (Mediterranean Sea), with the objective of preventing the entry of alien species to Turkish seas, eradicating alien species, and taking measures to protect native species and habitats.
By combating with the invasive alien species within the scope of the project, the protection of biological diversity as well as marine ecosystems will be ensured, and this will contribute to the AICHI goals along with the Sustainable Development Goals, which are aimed to be achieved by 2030.