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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Status and Trends in the Rate of Introduction of Marine Non-Indigenous Species in European Seas

Zenetos, Argyro; Tsiamis, Konstantinos; Galanidi, Marika; Carvalho, Natacha; Bartilotti, Catia; Canning-Clode, Joao; Castriota, Luca; Chainho, Paula; Comas-Gonzalez, Robert; Costa, Ana C.; Dragicevic, Branko; Dulcic, Jakov; Faasse, Marco; Florin, Ann-Britt; Gittenberger, Arjan; Jakobsen, Hans H.; Jelmert, Anders; Kerckhof, Francis; Lehtiniemi, Maiju; Livi, Silvia;
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Invasive alien species are a major worldwide driver of biodiversity change. The current study lists verified records of non-indigenous species (NIS) in European marine waters until 2020, with the purpose of establishing a baseline, assessing trends, and discussing appropriate threshold values for good environmental status (GES) according to the relevant European legislation. All NIS records were verified by national experts and trends are presented in six-year assessment periods from 1970 to 2020 according to the European Union Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Altogether, 874 NIS have been introduced to European marine waters until 2020 with the Mediterranean Sea and North-East Atlantic Ocean hosting most of the introductions. Overall, the number of new introductions has steadily increased since 2000. The annual rate of new introductions reached 21 new NIS in European seas within the last six-year assessment period (2012–2017). This increase is likely due to increased human activities and research efforts that have intensified during the early 21st century within European Seas. As Europe seas are not environmentally, nor geographically homogenous, the setting of threshold values for assessing GES requires regional expertise. Further, once management measures are operational, pathway-specific threshold values would enable assessing the effectiveness of such measures.


non-indigenous species; European seas; regional seas; MSFD; good environmental status; validation; uncertainties

Published in

2022, volume: 14, number: 12, article number: 1077

Authors' information

Zenetos, Argyro
Hellenic Centre for Marine Research
Tsiamis, Konstantinos
No organisation
Galanidi, Marika
Carvalho, Natacha
European Environment Agency (EEA)
Bartilotti, Catia
Portuguese Institute for the Sea and Atmosphere
Canning-Clode, Joao
MARE - Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre
Castriota, Luca
Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA)
Chainho, Paula
MARE - Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre
Comas-Gonzalez, Robert
Spanish Institute of Oceanography
Costa, Ana C.
University of Azores
Dragicevic, Branko
Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries
Dulcic, Jakov
Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries
Faasse, Marco
Naturalis Biodiversity Center
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Resources
Gittenberger, Arjan
Jakobsen, Hans H.
Aarhus University
Jelmert, Anders
Institute of Marine Research (IMR)
Kerckhof, Francis
Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences
Lehtiniemi, Maiju
Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE)
Livi, Silvia
Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA)
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