Turkish ministry presents documentary on invasive species

Turkish ministry presents documentary on invasive species

ANTALYA – Demirören News Agency
Turkish ministry presents documentary on invasive species

Turkey’s Environment and Urbanization Ministry has presented a documentary that highlights how invasive species have entered and are endangering local species in the Black and Mediterranean Seas in an effort to raise awareness among the public.

The five-minute documentary is carefully directed to show how ballast water discharges by ships entering Turkish waters have transported invasive species, which have disrupted the natural life cycle of home species.

The documentary sheds light on the most dangerous invasive sea creatures like the toadfish, lionfish, catfish, nomad jellyfish and comb jellyfish that are posing a great threat to the biodiversity in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.

“After a second channel was opened in Suez Canal in 2014, more invasive fish species have entered the Mediterranean Sea. We wanted to raise the public awareness against these invasive species,” said Tahsin Ceylan, director of photography of the documentary, who took underwater shots of these species.

Mazlum Kiper, an artist who dubbed the short film, describes that the discharge of ballast water by ships is mainly responsible for invasive species like comb jellyfish, veined rapa whelk and upside-down jellyfish that have entered the Black Sea, threatening marine life there.

According to the documentary, comb jellyfish, which was first spotted in the Black Sea in the 1980s, has been the reason behind the decreasing population of anchovies in the last two years, while veined rapa whelk is a major threat to mussels.

The lionfish that feed on tiddlers of other species have become a massive invasive species in the Mediterranean, and only a local fish species called dusky grouper can kill lionfish, according to the documentary.

Catfish and toadfish, which is 1,200 times more toxic than cyanide, are a major threat to local species in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, the documentary reveals.

Ceylan, who took a shot of a dusky grouper eating a lionfish for the movie, said, “We need to protect the groupers against these species. It is very important.”

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