Europen Union (EU) Risk Assessment of Plotosus lineatus (Thunberg, 1787); a summary and information update

Marika Galanidi, Cemal Turan, Bayram Öztürk, Argyro Zenetos

Institute of Marine Sciences and Technology, Dokuz Eylül University, Izmir, TURKEY
Marine Science and Technology Faculty, Iskenderun Technical University, Iskenderun, TURKEY
Faculty of Aquatic Sciences, Istanbul University, Istanbul, TURKEY
Turkish Marine Research Foundation (TUDAV), P.O. Box: 10, Beykoz, Istanbul, TURKEY
Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Attiki, GREECE


Plotosus lineatus is a venomous Lessepsian fish species present in the south-eastern Mediterranean since 2002. It has been identified as one of the priority marine invasive alien species (IAS) likely to threaten native ecosystems and human well-being throughout the Mediterranean and within EU marine waters. It was thus selected as one of the species to be risk assessed and considered for management under the EU IAS Regulation. This work describes the main findings of the Risk Assessment (RA) of P. lineatus and discusses possible management measures. The species has a high likelihood to enter the RA area through natural dispersal and the possibility of “facilitated” or accidental escapes from domestic or public/private aquaria, has been established in some parts of the Mediterranean and is very likely to establish throughout the Mediterranean and possibly the Black Sea. Potential population explosions can instigate major environmental impacts on native community structure and ecosystem functions through competition, predation and habitat use; additionally, its painful and potentially dangerous sting poses a serious health risk. The risk assessment identified a moderate rate of spread due to depth limitations to dispersal, which can facilitate population control and containment efforts, should they be needed. Commercialization of the species for consumption and biomedical research can be an option for long-term management.

Keywords: Plotosus lineatus, striped eel catfish, invasive, risk assessment, management measures, EU IAS Regulation

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