Wednesday, 9 April 2014

IUCN-Med launches a new App for marine invasive species in Mediterranean marine protected areas

Malaga, 3rd April 2014, IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation - The IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation has released today a new app for smart phones, and an online tool to help managers of marine protected areas (MPAs) control the spread of invasive species in the Mediterranean Sea.

The new application aims to facilitate the identification of marine invasive species in Mediterranean marine protected areas so that monitoring and control programmes can be put in place before they damage native marine species. Further improvements to the App will be considered during the marine experts workshop in the order to increase its applicability and potentiality for marine protected areas.

The app is supported by an online platform which includes an identification guide of the most important invasive species found in the Mediterranean Sea. The data reported by users will be verified before display on an online map accessible through the platform. This platform is devoted to all those interested (amateur or professional divers, marine technicians, MPA managers, fishermen or scientists) in receiving information on invasive species in marine protected areas. Information collected will also support conservation efforts through recording the presence of potentially invasive species.

The online reporting system is based on a recent publication by IUCN in the context of the MedPAN North project, "Monitoring Invasive Species in Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas (MPAs): A strategy and practical guide for managers<https://cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/guide_on_monitoring_invasive_species_in_amp.pdf>", which describes and maps around half a hundred species. IUCN-Med invites divers to identify potentially invasive species in MPAs, and report them through this service. The data collected will help marine conservation by increasing the chances of stopping their permanent establishment and thus limiting their potential impact.

The Smartphone's application is free. You can download it from: http://www.iucn-medmis.org