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"Concern" about impacts of invasive 'Sea-Vomit' species

Tuesday 06 June 2023

"Concern" about impacts of invasive 'Sea-Vomit' species

Tuesday 06 June 2023

A senior scientific officer has expressed "concern" that the infestation of an invasive 'Sea-Vomit' species in Elizabeth Marina could impact local businesses.

Last month, officials spotted four small colonies of the invasive Carpet Sea-Squirt – sometimes known as 'Sea-Vomit' – on the underside of several pontoons in Jersey's Elizabeth Marina.

Their presence has now spread to boats in the marina.


Pictured: Carpet Sea-Squirt growing on fan-worm tubes.

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."


Pictured: Carpet Sea-Squirt retrieved from the marina.

Survey work is underway in the marina, as well as other harbours and parts of the coast, to assess the extent of the infestation. This work is being carried out with the help of Ports of Jersey.

The Carpet Sea-Squirt, which originates from Japan, has spread to the British Isles in recent decades, arriving in Ireland and north Wales in 2008.

Mr Christie said it has recently had a presence in southern UK ports and "it was likely to be just a matter of time before it arrived here in Jersey".

Routine monitoring using an underwater camera showed up the potential presence of the organism in Jersey's waters. Photographs were then sent to experts at Marine Scotland.

As visual identification of Carpet Sea-Squirt can be difficult, samples were also taken for DNA analysis, which confirmed its presence.

Pictured top: Carpet Sea-Squirt on the underside of a pontoon, among other marine life.

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