Recently, the second updated edition of the Atlas of Exotic Fishes in the Mediterranean Sea, published by CIESM Publishers, Paris, Monaco, was published.
Experts participated in the preparation of this atlas: Dani Golani (Israel), Ernesto Azzurro (Italy), Jakov Dulčić (Croatia, Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries, Split), Enric Massuti (Spain) and Lidia Orsi-Relini (Italy). The editor-in-chief of this edition is Frederic Briand, CEO of CIESM (The Mediterranean Science Commission).
The pages of the Atlas of individual species are designed as stand-alone information tables with illustrations, diagnostic features, biological data, references, and a map for each exotic species. CIESM working group experts will continuously review reliable evidence of new or validated records, updating and expanding the Atlas.
Since 1869, the Mediterranean has offered an open door – via the Suez Canal – to the “sea invaders” of the Indo-Pacific. As a result, no other region of the world’s oceans now creates such a sense of accelerated biological change on a planetary level as the Mediterranean itself. So much is hinted at in the first edition of the 2002 Atlas, which revealed the rich, mostly tropical ichthyo-fauna that reached the Mediterranean during the 20th century. Although it is anticipated that many revisions will be required to update this release, this task is still underestimated. In the end, it turned out that it took five years to analyze new records, verify the authenticity of sources, remove unreliable entries, and revise numerous maps. The result is astonishing and is recorded in only one statistic: in the 20 years since the first edition of the atlas, far more exotic fish (107) have arrived in the Mediterranean than during the entire century that preceded it. This includes 43 new “immigrants” who have succeeded in establishing self-sustaining populations, plus an additional 64 species that have recently been seen at least once in their new potential habitat. The second edition presents and illustrates all of these fish, plus 80 species of “survivors” from the first edition.
This rapid expansion is the result of several factors, ranging from rising temperatures and salinity of Mediterranean waters, favoring the acclimatization of incoming tropical fish, to significant widening and deepening of the Suez Canal to meet the demands of international maritime traffic. While some recent arrivals are certainly good news for Mediterranean fish markets, others already have significant environmental and economic effects, changing the nature and dynamics of the local marine network or posing new threats to consumer health. This book or this atlas tells the story of a world (the Mediterranean, the Mediterranean) that is changing rapidly. Croatia is also involved in this story through the activity and contributions of prof.dr.sc. Jakov Dulčić from the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries in Split.