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.
Our new partner, iSEA through the campaign Pick the Alien will support us promote the consumption of specific alien species and introduce them in stores & restaurants, starting with the local market of Santorini. They will additionally inform the public about alien species and train citizen scientist at recording and monitoring alien species. We are excited with this new pilot project!
Read here what the Greek and international press published about our project!
Watch the video!
We are pleased to announce the continuation of the first version “Pick the Alien” in Santorini in 2019, with a new CPF grant to our partner iSEA. During this first phase of the project our partner informed the local community about alien species while we discussed with local fishers about the difficulties they meet regarding alien species and their profession. Furthermore we tried to investigate the reasons why are the edible alien species not yet sold on the market and the difficulties that these species encounter to get to
this point. The next phase of the Pick The Alien project will try to remove the barriers between the gastronomy sector and
fisheries that renders the creation of supply chain difficult. As a next step, we will build on the knowledge we have gathered from the past project in Santorini to implement the project to the islands of Paros and Amorgos. These two 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. Then, the project will invest in raising the awareness of local stakeholders (professional and
recreational fishers, divers, restaurateurs, local authorities and others) regarding the issue of biological invasions, with a special interest on mitigation and protection from toxic and venomous species. In addition, the project will empower the local communities for reporting IAS and supporting the assessment of descriptor D2 of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.
We will partrner with many local stakeholders, such as the Theran Sea Society, Dive In Action, Paros Fishing Trips,
Amorgos Fishing Trips, Paros Divers and Paros Diving Center.