The global extent of marine protected areas (MPAs) is increasing, yet non-native species (NNS) are a critically overlooked stressor that threatens MPA conservation goals. Despite the evidence that marine NNS affect protected species and habitats, there is limited understanding of the pervasiveness of this threat and the extent to which resource managers are responding to it.
This study determined the overall state of knowledge and perception of NNS and MPAs by disseminating a questionnaire targeting MPA practitioners and scientists.
The results show that NNS are a prevalent issue and a priority management concern for many MPAs, being the subject of some monitoring, management and research.
However, the authors state that efforts to prevent invasions were uncommon, with NNS often spreading into MPAs from sites of primary introduction outside MPAs boundaries. It is highlighted that preventative measures were largely absent, so that more focused attention on NNS will be required to achieve conservation goals.
Iacarella et al. (2019) Non-native species are a global issue for marine protected areas. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment doi.org/10.1002/fee.2100