Project Status: 2022 – ONGOING
With co-funding from the Blue Marine Foundation, the AEF funded the expansion of iSea’s 2022 Pick the Alien program to the Argolic Gulf. The programme aims to promote the consumption of edible invasive species such as the lionfish and long-spined sea urchin, both as a means to control the newcomers’ populations, and to take pressure off threatened native species.
To date, two events have been held on Spetses and Hydra. Each event involved a public tasting of edible marine alien species, and informational seminars for local fishers. In addition, local fishers and restaurateurs were interviewed to assess the main barriers to the widespread targeting and consumption of these species. The program is still ongoing, with a third event scheduled to be held in Nafplio in September, after which a final report will be published.
Both public tasting events held so far were highly successful, with attendance surpassing initial expectations and a large number of positive written comments by attendees. The events were planned to coincide with the Spetses Classic Yacht Regatta (SCYR), and the Miaoulia festival on Spetses and Hydra respectively, and created significant discussion among the public as well as fishers and restaurateurs.
By September, iSea will release an interim analysis of the key obstacles that must be overcome for alien species to find their way into fish markets and restaurant menus. This will provide a roadmap for more targeted actions to address supply chain issues (e.g. connecting fishers with appropriate wholesalers, providing chefs/restaurateurs with training, etc.).