Invasive species in the Northeastern and Southwestern Atlantic Ocean: A review.
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The spread of non-native species has been a subject of increasing concern since the 1980s when human-mediated transportation, mainly related to ships' ballast water, was recognized as a major vector for species transportation and spread, although records of non-native species go back as far as 16th Century. Ever increasing world trade and the resulting rise in shipping have highlighted the issue, demanding a response from the international community to the threat of non-native marine species. In the present study, we searched for available literature and databases on shipping and invasive species in the North-eastern (NE) and South-western (SW) Atlantic Ocean and assess the risk represented by the shipping trade between these two regions. There are reports of 44 species associated with high impacts for the NE Atlantic and 15 for the SW Atlantic, although this may be an underestimate. Vectors most cited are ballast water and biofouling for both regions while aquaculture has also been a very significant pathway of introduction and spread of invasive species in the NE Atlantic. Although the two regions have significant shipping traffic, no exchange of invasive species could be directly associated to the shipping between the two regions. However, it seems prudent to bring the exchange of ballast water between the two regions under control as soon as possible.
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