Alien species new to the Mediterranean discovered

Alien species new to the Mediterranean discovered

Cocoa DamselfishAlien species new to the Mediterranean discovered through research undertaken in collaboration with EFSA Malta.

EFSA Malta is assisting the Conservation Biology Research Group (CBRG) from the University of Malta in research which involves monitoring coastal biodiversity and the catches by anglers during sport fishing competitions. Findings of this research provides vital information about the presence of common and less commonly caught species around the Maltese coasts.  At the same time this workmay establish effective ways of promoting good sport fishing practices and safeguard marine life.

The alienfish reported for the first time in the Mediterranean Sea, the Cocoa damselfish (Stegastesvariabilis) was sampled fromSenglea waterfront during a competition organised by EFSA Malta and it was identified and analysed by researchers for the CBRG-UoM. This discovery was published in a scientific peer-reviewed journal, the Mediterranean Marine Science Journal(Adriana Vella, Sandra AgiusDarmanin and Noel Vella 2015). TheCocoa damselfishis not native to the Maltese waters but naturally occurs in the West Atlantic region and may have been carried by vessel transportation.

Scientific monitoring of catches  also took place during the European Shore Fishing Championships  held in Malta between the 16th and 20th November where a team of researchers from the CBRG-UoM have worked on site during each competition.

Involvement and collaboration with fishing clubs is important and anglers are also learning through their collaborating with CBRG-UoMresearchers appreciating the urgent needs of our marine life which is under increasing pressures.

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