Current Affairs
Climate change bringing new fish species into Mediterranean waters

Among the visible effects of climate change are the new species of fish in Mediterranean waters that have adapted themselves to higher temperatures. Professor Alan Deidun told Television Malta he has noted that seawater temperatures are rising rapidly and everything is indicated that for the third successive year will be higher than 30 degrees.

Species of fish entering the Mediterranean from the Atlantic Ocean or the Pacific Ocean have continued to adapt to the higher temperatures of Mediterranean waters as a result of climate change.

Professor Alan Deidun said that as a result of Spot the Alien Fish – a campaign for fishermen to inform of alien fish species in waters around Malta, have continued with Rabbit Fish being caught, in Maltese known as Qawsalla (Rainbow) because of their colouring.

He said this has bred rapidly and has now almost become an indigenous fish that is being caught regularly and to which fishermen have become accustomed.

In Mediterranean waters there are about 15,000 creatures, including fish, sea vegetation and crabs. Over 1,000 have come from other waters. The marine biologist said places that alien species have been highly noted are mostly the Grand Harbour, Marsamxett and Marsaxlokk Bay, alien species that follow the passage of marine vessels.

Professor Deidun said that the Blue Swimmer Crab is another alien species that has adapted to Mediterranean waters. He said this has entered from the Indian Ocean and whose legs are tipped blue and is being regularly caught in the south of Malta including in Marsaxlokk and Rinella.

He noted that for the third successive year sea temperatures have risen. He said it is expected that by end of summer, at the end of September, temperatures will once more exceed 30 degrees and this is becoming a common trend. If this continues it may impact sea life and this has yet to be seen.

Professor Deidun said the public is urged to take note of strange alien sea creatures, if possible to take pictures and send these to aliensmalta.eu.

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