Alien fish “invading” Aegean Sea might pose a health risk, scientists say

Some of the species are highly toxic

Greek scientists have begun recording the number and the species of non-native fish “invading” the north Aegean Sea from the Red Sea, in an effort to gauge their impact on the ecosystem, as well as the humans.

As reported by the Athens News Agency (AMNA), scientists want to assess the level of risk the incoming fish pose to the sea, as some are highly toxic.

Ichthyologist Sotiris Kyparissis of the Fisheries Research Institute (FRI) informed the Athens-Macedonian News Agency that more than 280 alien species from the Red Sea have appeared in the Mediterranean, due to a widening of the Suez Canal, warmer seas and other factors.

One of the most dangerous to reach the Aegean is Lagocephalus sceleratus, or toadfish, whose body contains a deadly neurotoxin that can kill, as well as species of poisonous stonefish or the spiny Lionfish, whose spines contain a protein-based toxin destroyed by cooking. This means that, unlike toadfish, lionfish can be eaten by humans.