Marine invasive non-native species (NNS) are one of the greatest threats to global marine biodiversity, causing significant economic and social impacts. Marinas are increasingly recognised as key reservoirs for invasive NNS. They provide submersed artificial habitat that unintentionally supports the establishment of NNS introduced from visiting recreational vessels. While ballast water and shipping vectors have been well documented, the role of recreational vessels in spreading NNS has been relatively poorly studied. Identification of the main physical features found within marinas, which relate to the presence of NNS, is important to inform the development of effective biosecurity measures and prevent further spread. Towards this aim, physical features that could influence the presence of NNS were assessed for marinas throughout the UK in July 2013. Thirty-three marine and brackish NNS have been recorded in UK marinas, and of the 88 marinas studied in detail, 83 contained between 1 and 13 NNS. Significant differences in freshwater input, marina entrance width and seawall length were associated with the presence of NNS. Additionally, questionnaires were distributed to marina managers and recreational vessel owners to understand current biosecurity practices and attitudes to recreational vessel biosecurity. The main barriers to biosecurity compliance were cited as cost and time. Further work identifying easily distinguished features of marinas could be used as a proxy to assess risk of invasion.
- Invasive Species