Have you been down to the coast recently? Ok so the weather might not have been ideal for spending the day doing some UK based beach combing, but if you head down to the shore today, you’re sure of a big surprise… alien invaders.
The Marine Conservation Society have joined up with the Marine Life Inormation Network (phew) who log sightings of alien species. There are all the critters that make it to the UK’s shores but are non native species. Many are hitchhikers, caught in ship ballast tanks or stuck to hulls. Others arrive on drift material, which includes the vast amounts of plastic in our oceans.
Why does it matter?
While many species can live happily alongside our native species, others are not so nice. Shellfish fisheries are one industry that really suffers. And this is not just in our seas. The Chinese mitten crab literally moves river beds, excavating as they go. This massively disturbs the substrate and local eco system. As many as 65 different invaders have been identified as living on the seabed – they just take up space other individuals could be living in.
How can you help?
Download yourself a copy of the Aliens ID guide and next time you are out and about, keep your eyes peeled. Report any alien sightings to the MCS.