Fish the Alien

9 months (April 2022 – December 2022)

Funded by:
Cyprus Environment Foundation

Project Partner:
Environmental Organisation for the Preservation of the Aquatic Ecosystems, iSea 

Project Description:
Biological pollution ranks as the third greatest threat to biodiversity in the marine environment and is responsible for the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Among marine ecosystems altered by invasion, the Eastern Mediterranean Sea underwent the most intense and exceptionally rapid changes globally, fostered by climatic changes and other anthropogenic drivers. In addition to the ecological consequences, Invasive Alien Species (IAS) have an economic affect in the local communities with impacts on commercial fisheries and tourism, as some of the species are venomous and poisonous. In addition, non-indigenous species have low value and are usually discarded by fishers.

The project aimed to engage the public in the control and consumption of marine IAS by utilizing a market-based approach to inform, educate, and strategically build incentives for the sustainable reform of local fisheries. The project aimed to challenge traditional narratives and motivate the public and fishers to target non-indigenous species instead of high trophic native species, support the development of supply chains that will benefit the local economies, promote the sustainable seafood consumption and sustainable fishery and build incentives to achieve frequent and large removals of alien species on a financially sustainable basis for fisheries.

Project’s deliverables included:

  • Two targeted removals of invasive species with free divers of Cyprus.
  • One gastronomy event for raising awareness about the alien species in the region and on responsible consumption of seafood. During the gastronomy event participants had the chance to taste a range of exotic dishes.
  • Development and sharing of existing educational and dissemination material about the impact of IAS, the promotion of their consumption (cooking recipes for IAS) and awareness on Citizen Science tools and the ways citizens can report observations for monitoring IAS and other species.
  • A social and mass media market campaign for the promotion of the market consumption of alien species.
  • One cooking seminar with alien species for chefs, restaurants and chef schools.