Fighting alien invasive species through gastronomy: Alien species are considered as a paramount threat for marine ecosystems, local economy and human health, worldwide. Research has shown that annually the degradation of marine ecosystems and the consecutive loss to human activities, caused by alien species, result in hundreds of millions of euros.
Greece is one of the most affected country since up-to-date more than 300 marine alien species have been recorded but unfortunately small scale fisheries avoid targeting alien species since their market value is minimal, and thus the additional effort necessary to catch them is increased. However there is a constant increase of the proportion of alien species caught, compared the native species catches.
On the other hand consumption of alien species in other countries is quite widespread with a high market value for a variety of species. Cyprus is such an example, where the Spinefoot fish (Siganus luridus & Siganus rivulatus) reach approximately 20 Euros per kg, while in Greece is usually discarded as an unwanted catch.
With our partner, iSEA through the innovative and smart campaign Pick the Alien which started in 2019 in the Cyclades we started spreading the word about the consumption of specific alien species and introduced them in stores & restaurants, starting with the local market of Santorini.
Read here what the Greek and international press published about our project!
Watch the video!
As a next step, in 2020 and 2021 we built on the knowledge we have gathered from the past project in Santorini and implemented the project on the islands of Paros, Naxos and Amorgos where we partnered with Theran Sea Society, Dive In Action, Paros Fishing Trips, Amorgos Fishing Trips, Paros Divers and Paros Diving Center. These three new islands were selected with a view to the alien species recorded to these areas from the citizen science project run by iSEA and the population of the islands
and their geographical position. with many local stakeholders.
Since 2022 the project has expanded, including multiple actions in a national scale with the support of BLUE MARINE FOUNDATION. The common goal of all partners remains the promotion of the consumption of edible alien species, combined with the replacement of commercial indigenous species whose populations are reduced through the establishment of an Alliance between all involved stakeholders (fishers, fish shops, restaurants) which can ultimately enhance our efforts.
Visit the website of iSEA to learn more about all the updates of this incredible national campaign that the CPF proudly helped to start in the Cyclades!