An inventory of non-indigenous species (NIS) inside and outside three tourist marinas from the southern Mediterranean coast

Yassine Ramzi Sghaier, Rym Zakhama-Sraieb, Ahmed Ben Hmida, Faouzia Charfi

Laboratory of Diversity, Management and Conservation of Biological Systems, Faculty of Sciences of Tunis, University of Tunis El Manar, LR18ES06, Tunis, TUNISIA
Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas (RAC/SPA), Boulevard du Leader Yasser Arafat, BP 337, 1080 Tunis Cedex, TUNISIA
University of Manouba, High Institute of Biotechnology of Sidi Thabet, BiotechPôle, BP-66, 2020 Sidi Thabet, Ariana, TUNISIA


In December 2013, three marinas in the southern Mediterranean coasts, El Kantaoui and Cap Monastir in the central east coast of Tunisia and Marina El Alamein in the central coast of Egypt, were surveyed for the presence of non-indigenous species (NIS). In order to maximize the number of collected species and to sample the full range of biotic assemblages and microhabitats inside and outside the marinas, diverse survey methods were employed. These include rapid assessment surveys of epibiota on artificial structures in harbors, with standardized one-hour transects used for snorkeling and diving to observe infra-littoral species and traps for catching small crabs and shrimps. Other data were obtained from the catch composition of coastal fishing boats operating in the area. A total of 26 NIS originating from Indo-Pacific Ocean/Red Sea were identified as 6 macrophyte, 11 invertebrate and 9 fish species. The results highlight the role of marinas in the introduction of NIS into the Mediterranean. Further and regular surveys in risk areas are recommended to provide an effective early warning system for NIS.

Keywords: Biofouling, non-indigenous species, marina, Tunisia, Egypt, Mediterranean Sea

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