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DFO warns of aquatic species invading Halifax, Lunenburg waters

posted Jun 18, 2013, 7:22 PM by SOS SaveOceanScience   [ updated Jun 18, 2013, 7:23 PM ]
Global News - Halifax   June 18,2013
 

DFO warns of aquatic species invading Halifax, Lunenburg waters

By Global News                    
<img class="story-img" src="http://shawglobalnews.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/photo-12.jpg?w=280&h=176&crop=1" alt="The vase tunicate (left) and the clubbed tunicate (right) are two of the most common invasive species in Nova Scotia." />; The vase tunicate (left) and the clubbed tunicate (right) are two of the most common invasive species in Nova Scotia.

The vase tunicate (left) and the clubbed tunicate (right) are two of the most common invasive species in Nova Scotia. Mayya Assouad/Global News

 

HALIFAX — Biologists with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans are warning of a new threat in our waters. They say invasive species brought in from around the world could be putting our domestic shellfish and aquaculture industry at risk.

The most common invaders, they say, are vase tunicates, golden atar tunicates, the clubbed tunicates and green crab.

“Mussel lines will be completely covered with those tunicates and they will add weight to the mussel lines,” explains Benedikte Vercaemer, a biologist with the department. “They will compete for food with the mussel because they filter the same type of plankton, they increase the cost of processing, and because the mussel (profit) margin is already very small sometimes they can actually close a business.”

The clubbed tunicate, native to Korea, is particularly worrying to the aquaculture industry here says Vercaemer.

“It’s going to be a big problem if it spreads, right now it’s limited to the Halifax and Bedford Basin and the Lunenburg area,” she said.

Dawn Sephton, a biologist with DFO, says part of the spread is due to the warmer than usual water.

“A failed introduction 10 years ago, may be a successful introduction now just because the climate has change,”  she said.

Still Sephton believes most of the spread is man-made; with the invasive species getting carried in on the gears or hulls of boats from all regions of the world.

“The key is to prevent them from coming in, because once they do establish, it’s very difficult to get rid of them,” she said.

<img class="story-img" src="http://shawglobalnews.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/photo-22.jpg?w=500&h=281&crop=1">;  DFO hopes these signs will help raise awareness about Aquatic Invasive Species

DFO hopes these signs will help raise awareness about Aquatic Invasive Species

In an effort to limit the spread, signs will soon be up asking boat owners to keep an eye out for aquatic invasive species and reminding them to properly dispose of all plants and marine animals on their boats.

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