AA / KTS
Several marine biologists have warned against the negative impact that the Egyptian Suez Canal has had on the biodiversity of the Mediterranean, coinciding with the 150th anniversary of the opening of the canal.
Scientists say hundreds of exotic species, including poisonous jellyfish and aggressive lion fish, have pushed native Mediterranean organisms to extinction and changed the Mediterranean’s delicate ecosystem, which could cause severe consequences, experts say.
Experts point out that the negative impact of the channel was further aggravated by Egypt’s doubling of the waterway’s capacity in 2015 with the opening of the “New Suez Canal”, which resulted in “irreversible biological damage” according to biologists.
Experts explain that the number of alien species on average is currently estimated at 400 species, and it has doubled in the last 30 years.
For its part, the Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection said that it is watching the process of alien species invading their waters with concern, considering that their coasts are considered a “first stop” for the new species.
In the same context, Lebanese scientists at the American University of Beirut recently published research stating that the inability to mitigate environmental hazards related to the expansion of the Suez Canal would expose a large part of the Mediterranean ecosystem to danger, a view shared by marine biologists from Turkey and Tunisia.
On the other hand, Mustafa Fouda, the advisor at the Egyptian Ministry of Environment, believes that “the alien species is a very large and unspecified group,” adding that “it can be useful and replace the species that are caught in abundance, which achieves economic benefits.”
Egyptian experts also deny that the new species invasion of the Mediterranean is a direct result of the expansion of the Suez Canal, stressing that the rise in temperatures due to global warming is one of the causes of the phenomenon.
Source: The Associated Press