Non-native species (NNS) are marine species that have been introduced to waters outside their natural range by human action. It is now estimated that invasive NNS cost the marine industries of Great Britain approximately £40 million per year in reduced efficiency, productivity and elimination expenses. The heaviest hit marine industries include aquaculture, fisheries, power generation and shipping.
More than 90 marine NNS have been identified from British and Irish waters, of which seventeen are now established in Scotland. However, it is an offence to introduce NNS to Scottish waters through commercial or recreational marine activities, even if the introduction was unintentional.
SRSL authored the original guidelines on the production of biosecurity plans for the Firth of Clyde Forum and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). SRSL has unique expertise in advising businesses on best practice, as well as preparing and implementing marine biosecurity plans to meet legislative requirements. SRSL also deliver training in this area.
Another threat to wild and farmed marine species is the occurrence of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs). These blooms can negatively mammal or fish health through the production of natural biotoxins or by other mechanisms.
Research at SAMS seeks to understand the physical, chemical and biological environment that governs these HAB events, so that they can be predicted. This research underpins models and other risk assessment tools from SRSL, that provide early warning of HAB events for aquaculture, regulators and the public.