Rugulopteryx okamurae in Italy
The Mediterranean Sea is a hot spot of invasion events, mainly due to the intense maritime traffic.
The brown seaweed Rugulopteryx okamurae, native to the Pacific Ocean, has been recently recognized as an emblematic case of biological invasion by marine macroalgae in European waters. R. okamurae has rapidly spread towards Atlantic and Mediterranean coastal areas, from the Strait of Gibraltar, exhibiting an invasive behavior with significant ecological and economic impacts. R. okamurae is an invasive species of Union concern, under the EU Regulation 1143/2014.
The first observation of this species has been reported in Italy along the north-western coast of Sicily, Gulf of Palermo, in a recent scientific publication.
The evidence provided in the article confirms the expansion of the invasive seaweed R. okamurae through the Mediterranean Sea and confirms its ability to cross great distances of open sea to reach islands.
The species has a high impact potential on ecosystems. Thus, it is important to invest in preventing its introduction in new areas, working in collaboration with the fishing sector. The operators must be swiftly informed and trained, fostering their active role in the management of this invasive species, including the adoption of disinfection protocols for fishing gears.
At European level, there is a need for coordinated actions to slow down the dispersal of this species, and to minimize and mitigate its environmental impact.
to find out more you can read the article: https://bit.ly/3PNU8Jb.