WWF report warns of “tropicalisation” of the Mediterranean sea

A report released on the occasion of World Environment Day (5th June 2021) by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) warns that the Mediterranean Sea is rapidly becoming a tropical sea, as water temperatures rise 20% faster than the global average.

One of the consequences of this warming is a change in fish species. Some fish usually found only in the southern Mediterranean – such as the barracuda and the dusky grouper – are migrating further north. Additionally, 1,000 invasive species have entered the Mediterranean already through the Suez Canal and the Strait of Gibraltar, often outcompeting local species. Coral formations are being degraded and jellyfish are becoming more abundant.

Of most concern, the warming waters threaten the Posidonia oceanica (Neptune grass) meadows in the sea, which are currently capturing a large proportion – possibly up to 42% – of the Mediterranean states’ carbon emissions, as well as serving as a habitat for many species. The importance of these meadows has been recognised for some time as being essential to maintaining biodiversity.

The WWF is calling for a big expansion of protected sea areas.

Read the full report here:
https://www.wwf.fr/sites/default/files/doc-2021-06/20210607_Rapport_The-Climate-Change-Effect-In-The-Mediterranean-Six-stories-from-an-overheating-sea_WWF-min.pdf

As an aside, there is an interesting project by iSea – currently operational in the Cyclades and the Ionian – aiming to encourage fishermen to catch and restaurants to serve alien species of fish, to help counterbalance the selection pressures on native fish.
You can read more about that here: https://isea.com.gr/pick-the-alien-2/?lang=en

There is also a seafood guide produced by the WWF, which has information and ideas about which species to choose to eat, and how to prepare them: http://master.seafoodinfo.eu/fishstories/