Urgency of field action in the face of blue crab invasion in Corsica

The spread of this invasive species was much faster than expected in the ponds of eastern Corsica. Today, it is vital for the biodiversity and survival of lagoon fishers to find funding for concrete action on the ground.

The example of Tunisia, Spain and Occitania, which is closer to us, should be considered when it comes to the urgency of deciding to act as soon as possible against the “terminator” of the lagoons – the blue crab. An extremely destructive species in the island’s brackish ponds, where little by little all other forms of aquatic life tend to disappear.

READ ALSO. VIDEO. Corsican blue crab: an invader to appreciate on plates

Fishermen not only run out of their usual species, but their equipment is destroyed by the powerful claws of this crustacean, capable of cutting nets.

This Monday at the Regional Committee for Sea Fisheries and Marine Economy (CRPMEM) in Bastia, an important meeting between representatives of the industry and various organizations took place.

There is no more time to wait

After a global presentation, to go back to the appearance, expansion and results of the various studies that have been carried out on the species, remarks were made on the urgency of action in Corsica to avoid the situation in Canet-en-Roussillon. “There are two fishermen left, they are asking to stay and subsidies are being poured in. There is not a single fish left in the 600-hectare pond. This year they caught 15 tons of blue crab, nothing else. The amount has tripled in a year and three years.” explains Jean-Louis Guaitella, a fisherman in Bigulia.

READ ALSO. Facing an invasion of blue crab, a challenge for amateur fishermen

This meeting, planned some time ago, aimed to raise awareness among various actors working in the field of biodiversity, environment and research to develop an action plan to, as a first step, stop the spread of the species through field actions and initiate scientific research. monitor and better understand its development.

“Unfortunately, this year’s numbers show us that we have much less time than expected to act.launched by Marie Garrido, Project Manager of the Corsican Environmental Office. In the brackish waters of Palu, Balistra or even Bigulia, we see expansion much faster than we expected. It is important to be able to act from next June.”

The need for a complete project

Various players around the table understood the importance of quick action.  - Angela Riccardi

The first challenge, and one of the main goals of this meeting, is to find the means to fund the tools needed to combat the crab’s spread, as well as research to better study it.

“If we just follow the numbers, we will unfortunately not have time to learn before we act.continues Marie Garrido. We need to act quickly. The risk is that these actions are not effective enough because of a lack of research. Thus, everyone agrees on the desire to develop a complete project that combines scientific, ecological and economic aspects. A choice that requires a longer period of reflection, but which allows you to look for several types of financing in parallel. First, first of all, for the purchase of experimental fishing equipment to replace the usual gear of island fishermen, which turn out to be too fragile when encountering this crustacean. Then fund the Corsican blue crab problem in the long term and globally.

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