“Addressing Invasive Alien Species Threats at Key Marine Biodiversity Areas Project” is implemented by the General Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to enhance the resilience of marine and coastal ecosystems through strengthened capacities and investments in prevention, detection, control and management of invasive alien species.
Recent field studies in four of the pilot areas of the project (Igneada, Marmara Islands, Ayvalık Islands and Samandag) reveal the dramatic magnitude of the impact of invasive species.
The marine and coastal areas of İğneada Floodplain Forests National Park, as one of the important ecosystems of the West Black Sea, now hosts a large population of Veined Rapa Whelk (Rapana venosa) introduced in the 1950s to the Black Sea via travelling by adhering to hulls of ships from the Sea of Japan. While this invasive species, being extremely voracious, adversely impacts the ecosystem by feeding on significant native mussel stocks in the coastal ecosystem, it does nevertheless represent a significant source of revenue for fishers in the region for its commercial value. Turkey is currently one of the top exporters of veined whelk in the world. As disclosed by the East Black Sea Exporters’ Union, Turkey sold 1,347 tonnes of whelk to 6 countries from January to August 2020 for an export revenue of 9 million USD.