Red Sea fish invade Antalya Gulf

Red Sea fish invade Antalya Gulf

ANTALYA – Demirören News Agency
Red Sea fish invade Antalya Gulf

The Antalya Gulf is under invasion by a growing number of a fish species arriving from the Red Sea that is replacing local unique ones off the coast of the Mediterranean province of Antalya, an Akdeniz University professor of aquaculture has warned. 

Mehmet Gökoğlu said the Posidonia Oceanica (sea meadows), which is named after the god of the sea Poseidon, is one of the endemic species of the Antalya Gulf, but has completely become extinct in some regions. 

Red Sea fish invade Antalya Gulf

Anchors, chains, pollution and the destruction of the coast have caused this, he said, adding, “Filling the areas of the sea meadows and the construction of a pier is one of the most important reasons of the extinction of this species.” 

Gökoğlu, who claimed that life on the seabed would upend maybe after 10 years if measures to halt destruction, pollution and desertification in the seabed are not taken. 

“If the sea meadows are completely destroyed, the number of other living beings in the region will also decrease, because those creatures feed on these sea meadows and hide their eggs in it. Therefore, we will see that these creatures will not be in the region when there are no sea meadows. This is a sad situation,” he said. 

“It is very important to protect the current situation,” said Gökoğlu. 

“The state needs to make a plan in this regard. Tourism is of course important, most of our income is from tourism, but it should be conscious. People should not anchor anywhere they want. The chains and anchors should not crush the seabed. We need to stop contamination. We have no wealth to waste and must take precautions.” 

‘Invasive’ species do not have economic value 

Gökoğlu noted that the number of fish species unique to the Mediterranean such as the grouper, which were abundant until 10 years ago in the Gulf, was remarkably reduced due to the result of unconscious hunting, being replaced by the “occupier fish species” from the Red Sea. 

He stressed that the expansion of the Suez Canal, connecting the Mediterranean and the Red seas, is the most important factor for the “invasive” species to come to the Mediterranean, and that these species do not have economic value. 

He said that the exotic shrimp species of the Red Sea are considered a new gain but was not the case for other species. 

“The fish species entering the gulf should be seen as loss but not gain. For example, there are many balloon fish from the Red Sea. We cannot evaluate this fish economically. There are other species from the Red Sea that have no economic value. These species are common to the nutrients of the gulf’s native fish; they share their space. They put pressure on other fish and make fishing harder. Fishermen are forced to spend extra work on this,” the professor said. 

Gökoğlu said the latest migrant fish from the Red Sea was a type of anchovy, adding, “We detected this species in the Aksu Başgöz stream. It is not like the Black Sea anchovy; not tasty like it.” 

He said that during their 10-year studies, they detected many species from the Red Sea. “We detected 63 species in the Antalya Gulf. Among them are lion fish, sea urchin and cardinal fish.”