Pick the Alien
Learn how the protection of marine ecosystems starts from your plate!
Our seafood choices may be part of the solution for the protection of marine ecosystems!!!
What we have achieved so far.
Since 2019 iSea promotes the consumption of edible marine alien species aiming at the reduction of their (local) populations. In the context “Pick the Alien” project, consumers were informed about the effects and consequences of alien species, they had the chance to taste and rate their gustatory value and to be informed about the locations where they can buy and order them (you can find all the restaurants below).
Our actions and goals for 2022
This year the project expands, including multiple actions. Our goal is to promote the consumption of alien species but combined with the replacement of commercial indigenous species whose populations are reduced through the creation of an alliance of all involved stakeholders (fishermen, fish shops, restaurants).
For the promotion of responsible seafood consumption through the consumption of edible alien species the following actions will be implemented throughout Greece:
All actions will contribute to the creation of a strong alliance between all stakeholders with the aim of promoting responsible seafood consumption and the replacement of native species and especially apex predators, such as the dusky grouper (Epinephelus marginatus), the bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus), the swordfish (Xiphias gladius) with edible alien species contributing to the protection of the marine environment.
Few words about alien species
Marine alien or non-indigenous species are organisms that are introduced as a result of human activities into novel ecosystems that extend beyond their natural range. About 1,000 marine alien species have already been identified in the Mediterranean and more than 300 have been recorded in the Greek seas. Their effects on the marine environment are numerous and include the displacement of native species and the altering of the ecosystem services. At the same time, the social and economic consequences induced are becoming increasingly perceivable/felt mainly in sectors such as fisheries and tourism, while many alien species pose a threat to human health.
Apex predators and over-exploitation of fishery resources
Apex predators play a crucial role in the health and the stability of marine ecosystems, as they act as regulators for the population of species belonging to lower trophic levels. Their absence or major reduction in their population can cause significant changes in food webs with consequences for both local ecosystems and human activities that can not be predicted. The Mediterranean is one of the most overfished areas in the world, where most fish stocks are overexploited, while the population of many higher predators (such as grgoupers, swordfish, sharks, etc.) has decreased dramatically causing important changes in the food web. Thus, the Mediterranean population of species such as the dusky grouper (Epinephelus marginatus), the common dentex (Dentex dentex), and the brown meagre (Sciaena umbra) are listed on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature as Threatened. Their population reduction, among other things, results in facilitating the spread of alien and invasive species, as there is less competition for the available resources and a lower possibility of predation for the alien species.
- Recipes book: If you also want to taste edible marine alien species try one of the recipes found in the book or send us your own ideas to include them in the next revision and spread the word. Find the recipes book here.
- The alien species of the Greek seas. Find the posters with the most common alien species of the Greek seas here.
Restaurants serving edible alien species
• Giorgargos Fishing Tours
• Vardiola restaurant
The project “Pick the alien” is implemented by iSea in collaboration with the Department of Animal Production, Fisheries and Aquaculture of the University of Patras and the University of Plymouth and it is funded by the Blue Marine Foundation, the Ionian Environment Foundation, the Argolic Environment Foundation, and the Cyclades Preservation Fund.
Funder for 2019: Cyclades Preservation Fund.
Funder for 2020: Ionian Environmental Foundation & Cyclades Preservation Fund.
Find the final report for 2019 here
Find the final report for the activities in the Ionian for 2020 here
Find the final report for the activities in the Cyclades for 2020 here