The Mediterranean is turning into a tropical sea, warns the WWF
The Mediterranean is turning into a tropical sea due to rising global temperatures, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) warned in a recently published report.
the Italian branch of the WWF says that due to the climate crisis, nearly 1,000 alien species have adapted to life in its waters, replacing endemic species.
This discovery confirms reports by Greek scientists that exotic fish species from the Red Sea have “invaded” the Aegean and Ionian Seas in recent years.
Tropical sea temperatures?
The study found that with temperatures rising 20% faster than the global average and sea levels also rising (expected to have risen one meter by 2100), the Mediterranean is becoming the saltiest and fastest warming sea on the planet.
“Urgent action is needed to further mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the new reality of a warming sea,” WWF said.
“The scenarios presented by experts on the future of the Mediterranean, which speak of an acceleration in the rise in temperatures and the entry of many exotic species [show] the Mare Nostrum risks changing its face very quickly with inevitable consequences for the communities. Now, more than ever, it is necessary to focus on the protected marine area, at least 30% by 2030,” WWF Italy President Donatella Bianchi said in a statement.
The deep waters of the Mediterranean Sea also affected
The study also notes that rising temperatures are transforming the depths of deep Mediterranean waters. Endemic grasslands and Pinna nobilis have declined throughout the region, eventually disappearing completely in some areas.
The loss of these species would have a dramatic impact on the entire marine ecosystem, as they provide vital habitats for many species and produce benefits in the fight against climate change since some of them function as sinks. of natural carbon, the study warns, adding that there would also be economic disadvantages since the species attract divers and tourists.
WWF Italy Maritime Director Giulia Prato said: “The Mediterranean Sea today is not what it used to be. Its tropicalization is already advanced. Climate change is not a problem of the future, it is a reality that scientists, fishermen, divers, coastal communities and tourists are already experiencing today.
The report says that native molluscs have declined by almost 90% in Israeli waters and that invasive species, such as rabbitfish, make up 80% of catches in Turkey. Additionally, southern species, such as barracudas and dusky groupers, have become common sightings in the waters of northern Liguria (Italy).
Similarly, storms and higher temperatures are transforming deep water depths and endemic forests of ‘Posidonia’, ‘Gorgonia’ and ‘Pinna nobilis’ have declined throughout the region and become completely extinct in some areas, such as in Spanish Mediterranean.
Related: Why the Mediterranean is one of the saltiest seas in the world