‘LITTLE’ can be done if an invasive species recently discovered in Elizabeth Marina becomes established in Island waters, a senior scientific officer has said.
Officials last month spotted four small colonies of the invasive carpet sea squirt – which can have a negative impact on aquaculture businesses – on the underside of several pontoons in Jersey’s Elizabeth Marina.
The slimy green plant has now spread to boats. Survey work is underway in the marina and other harbours and parts of the coast, to assess how far the invasive species has spread. The work is being carried out with the help of Ports of Jersey.
Alastair Christie, senior scientific officer for invasive species in Jersey, said: ‘It’s a concern as it may have some impacts on aquaculture businesses in damaging stocks, marine leisure in increasing the fouling of boat hulls, and also upon our native marine ecology as a competitor with our existing marine species.
‘Unfortunately, with many marine invasive species, there is often little that can be done once they are well-established. The hope is that this current incursion is minimal and that swift removal, followed by continued monitoring, will avoid a significant infestation and the impacts will be low.’
The carpet sea squirt, Didemnum vexillum, originates in Japan and has spread to the British Isles in recent decades, arriving in Ireland and north Wales in 2008.
Mr Christie said it has had a presence in southern UK ports.
‘It was likely to be just a matter of time before it arrived here in Jersey.’